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How a tiny, rice-sized device and heart operation transformed a Melbourne woman’s life


Just taking a stroll with her dad used to be breathtaking for Melbourne woman Monique Neu.

For more than a decade, the 25-year-old had suffered from a weak heart muscle, which impaired the organ’s ability to pump blood through her body.

But Monash Health cardiologist Jeffrey Alison and a device the size of a small grain of rice have transformed Ms Neu’s life.

Monique Neu said she would struggle to perform the most simple tasks.
Monique Neu said she would struggle to perform the most simple tasks. (9News)

“I live in a dead-end street with two massive hills on both sides and I couldn’t even walk up half the hill without running out of breath,” Ms Neu told 9News.

“Now I can walk up to the hill to the shops and back and I’m completely fine.”

In what’s believed to be a world-first operation, Ms Neu had the lead-less tiny electrode and a wireless pacemaker implanted on either side of her heart.

This lead-less tiny electrode was placed inside Ms Neu's body.
This lead-less tiny electrode was placed inside Ms Neu’s body. (9News)
It was paired with a wireless pacemaker, with each device going on opposing sides of her heart.
It was paired with a wireless pacemaker, with each device going on opposing sides of her heart. (9News)

The devices are produced by med-tech company EBR Systems, which is focused on removing the wires that have been standard in most pacemakers.

Fewer leads mean the implants will last longer inside the body.

Dr Alison said Ms Nue has made a resounding recovery after the operation.

Ms Neu's recovery has been astounding.
Ms Neu’s recovery has been astounding. (9News)

“She’s had a had fantastic response. Pump performance has improved by around about 60 per cent,” he said.

“She’s now working full time and she’s now doing everything comfortably without any problems.

“This is a system that can be in place indefinitely.”



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