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Northern Ireland defibrillator firm that saved footballer changes hands

By Margaret Canning

Published 17/02/2016

Bolton player Patrice Muamba’s life was saved by a heart machine that was made in Belfast
Bolton player Patrice Muamba’s life was saved by a heart machine that was made in Belfast

Northern Ireland firm HeartSine - makers of a defibrillator that famously helped save the life of footballer Fabrice Muamba - is now part of a new company.

HeartSine, which employs 115 people at its Airport Road West base, is now part of US firm Stryker Corp.

It had been bought over by Washington-based Physio-Control in September.

But medical devices firm Stryker Corp announced yesterday that it had paid $1.28bn (£0.9bn) for Physio-Control, in a deal with private equity outfit Bain Capital.

There was no official comment from HeartSine, but in a tweet, its chief executive Declan O'Mahony said it was "good news for Belfast". Heartsine is the only manufacturer of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the UK and Ireland.

It was founded in 1998 by the late Professor John Anderson, working with a group of investors.

Prof Anderson had worked with Dr Frank Pantridge, a pioneer in mobile coronary care, during the 1960s and 1970s.

The process used to treat out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is known as The Belfast Protocol. The world's first portable defibrillator was developed in the city by Dr Pantridge in the '60s.

Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder with Bolton Wanderers, collapsed during a football match in 2012. Despite his heart having stopped for 78 minutes, he was saved by CPR and a Belfast-made AED.

HeartSine now exports to more than 70 countries worldwide and last year announced that it had boosted sales to the Middle East by 60% in 2014.

Belfast Telegraph

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