We are always interested in healthcare developments and exciting new medical apps at Iridia, and recently we came across a study about a new ECG app for the iPhone that looks to be very promising. The study has found the AliveCor ECG Monitor and app for iPhone is a highly-effective, accurate and a cost-effective way to screen patients for undiagnosed atrial fibrillation.
Senior author of the study, Professor Ben Freedman, said that the device was an exciting breakthrough and would greatly improve early identification of atrial fibrillation and stroke.
“The ECG allows us to screen patients for atrial fibrillation in minutes, and treat people early. This is a huge boost in the fight to reduce the amount of strokes, particularly in people over the age of 65,” says Freedman.
Lead author Nicole Lowres mentions that half of those with known atrial fibrillation at the time of screening were unaware of their diagnosis even though many of them were prescribed medication to treat their condition.
Ms Lowres also noted how cost effective screening with the app could be.
“Our economic analysis has shown the AliveCor app is highly cost effective and in fact this is the first mass screening program for atrial fibrillation likely to be cost effective, unlike traditional ECGs,” she said.
The researchers are currently conduction trial screenings in general practice surgeries in Sydney, Australia.
The AliveCor Monitor and App
The app works in conjunction with the AliveCor ECG Monitor, a specialized case/monitor that snaps directly onto your phone. The case can wirelessly communicate with the app on your phone without pairing the two devices.
Once connected, the app detects skin contact on the sensors and when an acceptable connection is made it counts down to begin an ECG recording. When taking a reading, the ECG can be seen on the iPhone screen in real time.
In addition, the ECG is transmitted to a secure cloud server where a specialist can review remotely. The website can automatically analyze the reading to make a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. Research has found it correctly diagnoses atrial fibrillation 97 percent of the time.
Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem and is responsible for almost one third of all strokes and it increases with age, affecting more than 15 percent of people aged 85 years and over. People with atrial fibrillation face up to a five-fold increased risk of stroke, and tend to have more severe and life-threatening strokes.
There are currently a large number of people with undiagnosed atrial fibrillation who are at high risk of stroke, but who are not on any medication. The good news is that stroke is highly preventable with medication and early detection, which can reduce the risk by 66 percent.
Learn more about AliveCor.