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Newmarket man John Shadlock among first to be fitted new defibrillator to control abnormal heart rhythms





A Suffolk man has become has become one of the first people in Europe to receive a revolutionary defibrillator to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

John Shadlock, 48, of Newmarket, received a new type of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and is one of the first to have the device outside of medical trials.

John suffered a heart attack nine years ago and had a stent fitted. He moved to Suffolk two years ago and has been in the care of the heart failure team at West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

John Shadlock, 48, who lives in Newmarket. Picture: Submitted
John Shadlock, 48, who lives in Newmarket. Picture: Submitted

In December, he was referred on to Royal Papworth Hospital, in Cambridge, where Dr Greg Mellor fitted the device under his sternum.

John said: “Dr Mellor rang to introduce himself and told me more about this new device, which he thought would really benefit me.

“I came to Cambridge to meet him in-person the very next day and agreed to participate.

Dr Greg Mellor and catheter laboratory staff from Royal Papworth Hospital with representatives from Medtronic. Picture: Royal Papworth Hospital
Dr Greg Mellor and catheter laboratory staff from Royal Papworth Hospital with representatives from Medtronic. Picture: Royal Papworth Hospital

“I’ve lost too many friends to illness in the past, so I wanted to put my trust in his expertise and get it done.

“I’m really grateful for how quickly this has all happened. The care I’ve received from Royal Papworth has been spot on and I’m now looking forward to my life improving.”

Dr Mellor said the new ICD, called the medtronic extravascular implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (Aurora EV-ICD), is positioned under the patient’s sternum and closer to the heart so the device requires less energy.

This means that the Aurora EV-ICD’s battery lasts years longer than traditional ICDs and it can provide anti-tachycardia pacing, which treats some fast heart rhythms without needing to shock the heart.

John's procedure was a success and he is looking forward to his life improving. Picture: Royal Papworth Hospital
John's procedure was a success and he is looking forward to his life improving. Picture: Royal Papworth Hospital

Dr Mellor said: “We are very pleased to be among the first centres in Europe to have successfully implanted the new Aurora EV-ICD system, which will help to treat conditions where there is an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Defibrillators can help save lives for patients. This includes those who have survived a previous cardiac arrest or those with a heart condition where there is a substantial risk of cardiac arrest in the future.

“John is recovering well from his procedure and will now be able to lead an improved quality of life thanks to this device.”