A pacemaker on trial in the SAR is giving a new lease of life to patients with severe heart conditions, doctors said yesterday. Five heart patients had shown a significant improvement after using the new device, the first of its kind in Asia, said Dr Yu Cheuk-man at Queen Mary Hospital. The device has three pacing leads connected to the heart, whereas conventional pacemakers have one or two leads. Thus the heart's pumping function is improved. 'Heart failure is the second leading cause of death in Hong Kong,' Dr Yu said. 'Despite drug therapy, many patients die, and the choice of undergoing heart transplantation is limited by the shortage of heart donors.' The pacemaker is already in use in Europe and the United States. The first SAR implant was carried out in February and that patient said yesterday he was making significant progress. Another recipient, Cheung Kwong-hon, 64, said: 'I feel very good and I am happy that I decided to try the new treatment.' Mr Cheung had suffered breathlessness problems for more than 10 years. His situation deteriorated in September last year and he was sent to hospital, where the pacemaker was implanted in April. 'Now I can walk with no difficulties for two hours, so I can even go to the mainland,' he said. Patients have to pay $60,000 for the pacemaker, which is mainly for those with serious conditions or those too old for heart transplants.