A 61-year-old year old man has become the first patient at the Royal Free London to receive a new type of implantable defibrillator that can be connected to a smartphone app.

Issac Williams, from Kingsbury in Brent, underwent the procedure at Barnet Hospital. The equipment, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), was inserted with leads planted directly into his heart. The battery sits under his collar bone just beneath the skin and is connected via a smartphone app with Bluetooth connectivity, to Issac’s own mobile phone.

The Gallant device can detect any dangerous speeding up of the heart rhythm and delivers a ‘jolt’ if necessary. The hour-long procedure was carried out by cardiology consultant, Dr Raj Khiani.

The technology is only available for new implants and can’t be retrospectively added to current pacemakers or defibrillators. It is suitable for people who have had a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm, as well as for those whom tests show they are a risk of having one, such as those who have heart conditions including cardiomyopathy.

Dr Khiani explained how doctors can access data from the app which is downloaded onto the patient’s phone.

“The data is encrypted and secure and allows information about the ICD, including battery life function of the leads, as well as any treatment delivered by the device, to be downloaded directly via the cloud to the team working in the hospital,” he said.

“This means we can monitor patients very closely from home and this reduces the need for the patient to come into the hospital for a face-to-face appointment.  This has been especially helpful during the Covid pandemic to minimise the risk to patients by reducing the number of visits to the hospital.”