South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is trialling a new device for patients with fast heart beats.

The ground-breaking invention, the Valsalva Assist Device (VAD), aims to restore a patient's normal heart rhythm, thus possibly cutting down hospital admissions in the region.

SWASFT is the only service in the UK to trial the innovative device for patients who have supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

SVT is a common condition affecting approximately 125,000 UK patients yearly due to a problem in the heart’s electrical system, causing heart palpitations, chest tightness, dizziness, and breathlessness.

Somerset County Gazette: The ground-breaking invention is called the Valsalva Assist Device (VAD)

The Valsalva Assist Device features a built-in regulator which controls pressure when patients blow into it, potentially resetting the heart rhythm.

The device could replace the conventional treatment which entailed blowing into an empty syringe, a method known for its unreliability.

The study will evaluate if the newly introduced treatment is more reliable in restoring normal heart rate while reducing hospital visits.

The trial, dubbed the EVADE study, is being steered by Prof Andrew Appelboam, Consultant in Emergency Medicine in collaboration with Exeter Clinical Trials Unit, academics at the University of Exeter and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula (PenARC).

The study is funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme.

Prof Appelboam said: "Enabling patients to remain at home, if they have been successfully treated, has major benefits for the patient and emergency services alike, particularly given the recent pressures on ambulance trusts and emergency departments."

Ria Osborne, Research Manager at SWASFT, said: "We’re excited to be running the EVADE study in the South West.

"It’s an innovative design, which could be of huge benefit to patients experiencing SVT.

"The device is easy-to-use and can even be left with the patient for them to use if their symptoms return.

"We are hoping that the study will demonstrate that there is a reduction in patients needing to go to hospital."

Professor Obioha Chukwunyere Ukoumunne, added: "This important trial of the Valsalva Assist Device within the region’s ambulance service could have a big impact on the number of patients admitted to hospital with an abnormally fast heart rhythm.

"If successful, these devices could play a crucial role in easing the burden on our NHS."

Patient feedback is being sought by SWASFT to improve user experience with the device.