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Local access to pacemaker insertions

Yarrawonga man Alan Demmery and Dr Bob Gerber, who inserted Alan's pacemaker.
Yarrawonga man Alan Demmery is grateful to have received his pacemaker insertion by Dr Bob Gerber in Wangaratta.

For Yarrawonga man Alan Demmery, having a pacemaker inserted in Wangaratta saved him time and reduced his stress about the procedure.

Alan is one of eight people to have their pacemakers inserted at Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) – a procedure which wasn’t previously possible at Wangaratta until this year with the arrival of Cardiologist Dr Bob Gerber.

Dr Gerber said the introduction of pacemaker insertions has made a significant difference to local patients’ lives.

“It means they don’t have to travel to a major hospital to have this procedure,” he said.

“For a lot of patients, travel to Melbourne can be a barrier that can prevent them from having a pacemaker inserted.

“We have an excellent theatre and day stay team here at NHW and they have ensured these procedures can be carried out safely.”

Alan required the pacemaker after experiencing a fluctuating heart rate and blood pressure problems.

While it is early days, he said the difference so far had been significant.

“I feel a lot more confident about my health and more able to carry out daily tasks, which I might have avoided in the past,” he said.

“Having the procedure done just 35 minutes away from home meant I could be back home in my own bed by the end of the day.

“Dr Gerber was great at explaining the process to me and that made me more comfortable about the whole thing.”

Dr Gerber said he had received strong support from his colleagues at NHW to use operating theatres to implant pacemakers.

“It has been a delight to work in a positive culture which has resulted in the procedures being done for our local population,” he said.

“There was also support from industry who have supported all our implants and facilitated some of the training aspects involved.”