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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

First nurse practitioner masters ILR procedure typically performed by cardiologists

Health Industry Hub | May 10, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: Implantable loop recorders (ILR) monitor the electrical activity of the heart, continuously storing information as electrocardiograms, and recording abnormal activity to guide treatment decisions.

Sunshine Coast residents who have suffered a stroke will now find access to crucial cardiac care significantly streamlined, thanks to the introduction of a pioneering nurse-led Implantable ILR service at Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital (SCUPH).

Nurse practitioner Tara Willcocks is the first Ramsay Health Care nurse in Australia to undergo specialised training enabling her to perform ILR procedures, traditionally carried out exclusively by cardiologists.

Several ILRs are currently listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) including devices from Medtronic, Abbott and Biotronik.

Under the guidance of cardiologist Dr Stuart Butterly, Ms Willcocks has mastered the procedure, which typically lasts between 15 to 20 minutes. Once the device is positioned beneath the skin, the wound is closed, usually with dissolvable stitches.

Dr Butterly emphasised that the program is tailored to reduce patient wait times, enhance their experience, and improve the capacity of local cardiac services.

He stated, “This nurse-led program will allow patients to be treated without delay and hopefully improve outcomes for those at-risk patients.”

Explaining the procedure, Dr Butterly noted, “The ILR procedure involves a small diagnostic device being implanted in the chest of stroke patients to detect cardiac arrythmias and help determine further treatment options. Using a tablet, Tara can conveniently activate the ILR, and program the device parameters according to the patients’ needs.”

Ms Willcocks expressed her satisfaction with acquiring the skills to perform this potentially life-saving procedure.

““Learning from Dr Butterly has been an incredible experience. It feels wonderful to be one of just a few nurses in the country trained to complete this procedure,” she remarked.

She commended the introduction of this new service as a reflection of SCUPH’s leadership team’s dedication and innovative approach.

“Everyone in the cardiology service here is committed to advancing healthcare and thinking outside the box to offer more Australians greater health outcomes and a brighter and healthier future,” Ms Willcocks concluded.

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