A study has shown that a smartphone-based heart monitor could diagnose heart rhythm abnormalities five times more effectively than standard tests with significant cost savings. The findings were published in the journal EClinicalMedicine.
Palpitations and feeling faint may be harmless for most patients; however, for a few, there may be an indicator of serious underlying heart rhythm disorders. The heart rhythm device called KardiaMobile manufactured by AliveCor is attached to the rear of a smartphone or tablet. The patients need to activate the device upon experiencing any arrhythmic symptoms. The consequent electrocardiogram (ECG) results can be recorded or electronically sent to a physician for review.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian carried out a controlled trial of the device in 200 individuals across 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom. The intervention group of patients was sent home with the KardiaMobile device while the standard care group was not handed the device and were asked to report any further symptoms to the hospital or their GP surgery.
With the help of ECGs taken by the device for 90 days, physicians were able to diagnose 56 per cent of patients in an average of 9.5 days compared with a 10 per cent diagnosis in an average time of 43 days in the standard care group. The device was also able to lower the average diagnosis cost by more than £900.
Dr. Matthew Reed from the University of Edinburgh said: "For those with harmless palpitations, this device can quickly give reassurance, whilst for those with serious underlying heart conditions it can act as a lifesaver."