Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm which is among the leading causes of strokes. However, it is generally symptomless and therefore can go undetected long enough. A new necklace, experimental in nature, can, however, offer a quick and convenient solution to this silent problem. This particular necklace has been developed by a team at the University of Eastern Finland.
The experimental necklace features a pendant that houses a single-lead ECG (electrocardiogram). People who are at risk of atrial fibrillation must wear it at all times. These users will then be able to ascertain the electrical activity of their heart by employing the use of a smartphone app. They will have to hold the pendant in the necklace between their palms or between a palm and their chest. By doing so for 30 seconds, they will be able to take an accurate reading.
The app will allow the heart rhythm data to be transmitted from the ECG to a cloud-based server where AI-based algorithms come into play. These algorithms will analyze the received data and within a few seconds if atrial fibrillation is detected; the patient and their physician are informed right away. During the evaluation study of this technology, a total of 145 adult volunteers made use of this necklace for checking their heart rhythm.
The said volunteers were also undergoing the conventional three-lead ECG test. When it comes to atrial fibrillation, both tests proved to be very accurate. The difference is that with this experimental necklace, you can perform the test anytime and anywhere. Medical student Elmeri Santala who is the author of a paper on this study, said, ‘The necklace ECG is simple to use and allows repetitive self-monitoring of heart rhythm, thereby improving the likelihood of detecting atrial fibrillation. The ESC [European Society of Cardiology] recommends screening for atrial fibrillation in people over 65 years of age and in those at high risk of stroke; automated analysis by the necklace ECG is well suited for this purpose.’
The team will be presenting its conclusions and findings in the ESC’s EHRA Essentials 4 You scientific platform.