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Dutch heart surgery live on Twitter

For the first time in the Netherlands, the treatment of a patient with a heart rhythm disorder can be followed via social media. Sharing the experience of a real patient is part of a unique initiative organized by the Catharina Hospital (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) and Philips.

At @hartpatientAd and @cardioloogLukas on Twitter, patient Ad Langendonk from Eindhoven and his cardiologist, Dr Lukas Dekker, can be followed for a month from January 10 onwards.

Together, they will cover events before, during and after a minimally-invasive intervention in which catheters are used to remedy Ad Langendonk’s heart rhythm disorder and give him back his quality of life. The Catharina Hospital and Philips have launched this unique initiative to provide information to the public in an accessible manner and to show how rewarding healthcare innovation can be for both patients and society.

Like nearly 300,000 other Dutch people, Ad Langendonk has a heart rhythm disorder that has a highly negative impact on his quality of life. At 45 years of age, with two children and a busy job, he should be enjoying the prime of life. However, because of his heart rhythm disorder, he has had to give up many activities. The number of people with such disorders will greatly increase in the coming years to around 1 million by the year 2050.

Followers of @hartpatientAd can tweet Ad and his cardiologist, Dr Lukas Dekker, with questions about heart rhythm disorders and how they are treated. In addition, Ad can be supported by visiting

Minimally-invasive treatment live via social media
On January 27, Ad Langendonk’s heart rhythm disorder will be treated with a minimally-invasive procedure known as catheter ablation – a treatment that is rapidly increasing in popularity after a great deal of research and development over the last decade. Ad’s actual treatment can be followed ‘live’ via, with the medical team at Catharina Hospital keeping the world continuously updated on the progress of the procedure. In this way, people will be able to see the direct impact that healthcare innovation can have on a patient’s quality of life.

“Innovation is the only means by which we can offer solutions to future healthcare issues. We need to keep an eye on costs, but this needs to be done in a balanced way. There is no denying that innovations such as this one are the future. It therefore remains vital to keep investing,” says Dr Lukas Dekker, cardiologist at the Catharina Hospital. “To stimulate that investment, it is important to increase awareness. That is why I am so enthusiastic about this initiative. In this way, people are brought together, discussions are encouraged and ideas exchanged. Most importantly, the disease is given a face, which gives people a more personalized insight into the issues. Visitors share the journey of the patient and feel as if they are part of it every step of the way.”

“Discussions about healthcare innovation are often complex and abstract, but ultimately healthcare is all about people”, says Will Ickenroth from Philips Healthcare Benelux.  “The value of healthcare and the importance of innovation to people and to society as a whole becomes much clearer when you visit a hospital or have a conversation with physicians and patients. Together with the Catharina Hospital and Ad Langendonk, we are launching this unique initiative to show this from a patient’s personal perspective.”

The current healthcare costs associated with treating atrial fibrillation – the heart disorder that Ad Langendonk is suffering from – amount to 580 million Euros per year. With an increase in the number of patients, the costs will increase further. Innovative treatment methods, such as the catheter ablation procedure that Ad Langendonk will undergo, will aid in providing good, efficient and affordable care for an increasingly large group of patients.