A HOSPITAL has become the first in the country to offer visitors a heart check at the front door.

A scanner has been set up in the main entrance at Worthing Hospital which can detect abnormal heart rhythms.

These could be the precursor to having a stroke so picking them up could potentially save a person’s life.

The vast majority of people will receive the ‘all clear’ after they have placed their palms on the scanner for 30 seconds but others will need further checks.

And data from the scans is emailed straight to the hospital’s cardiac department where people can discuss their results.

They could, in some cases, receive a full ECG test there and then.

Consultant cardiologist Madhava Dissanayake invited UK medtec company Cardiocity to install the device.

He said: “It is fantastic news for our patients and visitors.

“Our aim is to identify people with heart rhythm disturbances and potentially detect conditions to prevent strokes.

"We are particularly looking for atrial fibrillation and for a lot of people there can be no symptoms at all.

“Basically, the top chamber of their heart beats out of sync and irregularly, so blood doesn’t flow freely. This can result in little blood clots forming and they can shoot off and cause strokes.

“If we can pick up one atrial fibrillation a day the impact would be amazing and we can make a dramatic difference to people’s lives and save them being debilitated by strokes.

“We are the first trust to do something like this and it’s wonderful.”

Cardiocity founder Chris Crockford said: “This is the first time one of these devices has been available in a hospital setting.

“We have had long discussions about the design of the software with Dr Dissanayake and the cardiac team at Worthing and we have custom written the software for Worthing Hospital."

The scanner has been installed and has already attracted a lot of interest.