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iPhone Device Detects Heart Rhythm Problem That Can Cause Stroke

ECGs seen on phone screen in real time (August 9)

A special iPhone case and app can be used to detect quickly and inexpensively heart rhythm problems and prevent strokes, according to research conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia.

The investigators found that the AliveCor Heart Monitor for iPhone (iECG) was an accurate and cost-effective way to screen patients to identify previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (AF), thereby helping to prevent strokes. What’s more, the test can be used in local pharmacies and general practitioner surgeries with a single-lead ECG taken on an iPhone with a special case.

“The iECG can be viewed on the phone screen and also used as an educational tool to teach people about their heart rhythm,” said lead investigator Nicole Lowres.

She added: “In a new development, we are now getting receptionists in general practice to record an iECG before patients see their doctor.”

When taking a reading, the iECG is seen on the iPhone screen in real time. In addition, the iECG is transmitted to a secure server (cloud) where a specialist can review the iECGs remotely. The website can automatically analyze the reading to make a diagnosis of AF. The researchers tested the website’s automatic prediction and found that it correctly diagnosed AF 97 percent of the time.

Source: University of Sydney; August 9, 2013.

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