Monday 31 October 2016

Strokes can be spotted by new device capable of detecting irregular heart rhythms


People who has a condition of atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder, have a 500 per cent higher risk of developing a stroke than anyone else.

Now an AliveCor Kardia Band has been developed enabling people to carry out their own electrocardiogram (ECG) at the touch of their wrist offering them an insight into the health of their heart and whether they have an irregular rhythm.

The Kardia Band is the world’s smallest medical grade ECG and monitors the wearer’s heart rhythm to identify possible atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of strokes.

The device operates directly with Apple Watch via the Kardia app and can immediately sync this heart rhythm analysis with other devices such as an iPad or iPhone, enabling people to keep a record of the results.

Results can also be directly shared with healthcare professionals.

The band costs £199 and has been praised by doctors and a charity for helping to improve patient confidence and reduce appointment times.

Dr Matthew Fay, a GP in Bradford, has been using the AliveCor Kardia technology at his practice and estimates it has halved the number of patient appointments related to palpitations and atrial fibrillation.

He said, "The huge benefit of this technology is that it saves appointments because we’re making a diagnosis in a single step.

"I can diagnose a patient when they first come in with heart palpitations with Kardia – which means less time and money wasted on nurse appointments and follow ups for us and the patient.

"Ultimately it makes for a far more efficient process for symptoms that can cause serious worry to a lot of people."


And Trudie Lobban MBE, founder of Arrhythmia Alliance, a charity working with people suffering from heart rhythm disorders, said the Kardia band could prove to be life-saving.

She said: "This represents a big step forward for everyone – not just for patients with heart rhythm disorders but for a lot of people with as yet undiagnosed arrhythmias. "Wearing a medical grade ECG on your wrist will ultimately help towards earlier detection and treatment of potentially fatal heart rhythm disorders so this has the potential to save a lot of lives.

"Having the control to take an ECG at anytime also means people can feel closer to their heart health which will also help take away some of their anxiety."

People aged over 40 have a 25 per cent risk of developing atrial fibrillation, and 80 per cent of deaths from heart rhythm disorders could be treated through discovery and treatment.

However, researchers found out of a survey of 2,000 UK adults, 24 per cent said stroke could not be prevented with a further seven per cent saying having a stroke is "just bad luck".

Vic Gundotra of AliveCor, said: "Despite the widespread knowledge of stroke, it is very concerning that so many people in the UK believe it can’t be prevented.

"This could be a dangerous assumption. Imagine wearing something on your wrist that could detect one of the leading causes?

"Kardia Band gives people the assurance that they are taking a proactive role in their own heart health, plus the ability to access that level of care anytime and anywhere, which is huge."



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