GENEROUS people across North Devon have raised enough money to buy a monitor for heart patients at North Devon District Hospital. The portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device is designed to help doctors diagnose problems with heart rhythm and tackle heart

GENEROUS people across North Devon have raised enough money to buy a monitor for heart patients at North Devon District Hospital.The portable electrocardiogram (ECG) device is designed to help doctors diagnose problems with heart rhythm and tackle heart disease.Out-patients going to the hospital are being fitted with the monitor so they can take it home and generate 24-hour readouts for analysis while going about their everyday activities.As well as giving a realistic picture of how the heart copes with daily routines, patients don't have to spend as much time at hospital for tests.The ECG monitor has been provided at a time when demand is rising steeply. Last year, heart specialists at the hospital carried out 912 of the 24-hour tests, compared to 733 the year before.It helps ensure that patients with suspected heart disease are diagnosed within six weeks of being referred by their GP.Christine Pope, senior chief cardiac physiologist at NDDH, said: "We know how good these monitors are, so it's wonderful to have another one to help local patients. "They make life so much easier for people, who just have to wear them for 24 hours, bring them back and wait for the results."We'd like to say a big 'thank you' to everybody involved."The money was raised by the Braunton & Barnstaple and the Chulmleigh branches of the British Heart Foundation, primarily from a bazaar and from performances by local musician John Robins, who has himself had a heart operation. A further £1,000 came from the estate of George Brain, from Barnstaple, who died last year. He left the money to the BHF but wanted it spent locally.Sue Rawle of the Braunton and Barnstaple branch said: "It's good to see all the hard work and generosity of people around Chulmleigh and Kings Nympton turned into something so helpful. "A pound or two handed over at one of our events really can help save lives.