Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia and is an irregular beating of the heart which can lead to a stroke, blood clots, or even heart failure if left unchecked. It can be very difficult to detect without an electrocardiogram. However, that may change with the heart-checking app.
Scientists from Finland’s University of Turku collaborated with colleagues at Turku University Hospital in a 2011 study to see if small accelerometers could be used to detect the minute chest movements associated with the atrial fibrillation. The result was a positive and this made them think of the accelerometers found in standard smartphones.
The team led by researcher Tero Koivisto recently created a heart-checking app for the very same purpose. It simply requires the phone to be placed on the patient’s chest. It detects and analyzes micromovements caused by the user’s heartbeat. A blind study was conducted on 300 patients from the hospital, half of which had atrial fibrillation. The heart-checking app showed a surprising 96% accuracy in detecting the condition.
The app is currently being developed further for commercialization by a spinoff company Precordior Ltd. The goal is for it to ultimately be used by patients checking their own health and for preliminary tests by doctors and medical staff in hospitals in developing countries.
If this app is commercialized and sees the light of day soon, it will definitely be a great help in detecting the condition and allowing the users to take the necessary precautions and remedies to prevent strokes.