Australian-first tested in Moree by Colin Bell

Routine: Each day at 8am, Colin Bell lays on the device, pictured, to collect data from his implant to send straight to doctors in Brisbane at Prince Charles.
Routine: Each day at 8am, Colin Bell lays on the device, pictured, to collect data from his implant to send straight to doctors in Brisbane at Prince Charles.

Doctors at Prince Charles Hospital gave Colin Bell 10 hours to live last June when he was flown in with heart failure, kidney failure and liver failure. 

Within nine days Colin, also known as the miracle man, lost 40 kilograms of fluid. Fast forward to today, his heart function is up by more than 20 per cent.

While in hospital, the Moree man was told about a new, miniature, wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure called CardioMEMS.

“Dr Anderson, one of my key heart surgeons, said I would be a good candidate for the system if I was interested and I just said ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’,” he said.

Late November, the CardioMEMS device was implanted to constantly track his heart pressure and fluid levels, sending the data back to doctors at Prince Charles.

“The device in my chest is as big as a 50 cent piece. It sits in the main artery between my heart and lungs.”

Each day around 8am, Colin lays on a special piece of equipment that reads the data from the implanted device and through mobile service it is sent directly to his doctors.

“Every few days I’ll get a phone call to change up my medication depending on my readings. I got a call the other day to say I was drinking too much water. I was guzzling apparently! Once they called and said ‘if you keep going at the rate you are, you’ll be in hospital within 14 days’ and that’s exactly what happened,” he said.

Colin was the first patient in Australia to test the device. Now he has been joined by 12 others.

“It only takes about 30 seconds to process the data each day. I’m about to receive a new device that works off wifi instead of mobile service, so it is constantly being updated. This will save lives,” Colin said.

He predicted the CardioMEMS System would one day be an everyday routine for people who suffered with heart failure and relating problems.

“There are four and five-year-olds with heart failure so hopefully someday this will help them live a long and full life,” he said.

The Prince Charles Hospital was the first facility in the Asia Pacific to implant the device.

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