Smartphone based cardiac assessment more efficient than traditional methods

Smartphone based cardiac assessment

Smartphone based cardiac assessment more efficient than traditional methods

According to CMAJ, smartphone-based cardiac assessment methods make a better diagnosis of blood flow in the wrist artery as compared to traditional methods detecting if there is any obstruction in blood flow.

Every day new smartphones come into the market with wide range of features and with those smartphones comes plenty of heart health apps. But can these apps really have a good impact on your heart health?

According to a recent study that appeared in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), a randomised clinical trial was conducted, where it had been found that smartphone application could outperform the traditional methods of cardiac assessment.

As stated by a University of Ottawa Heart Institute, a smartphone app which uses the camera, perform in a better way as compared to conventional physical assessment to evaluate the flow of blood in a wrist artery for patients going through coronary angiography.

With today’s rapidly advancing digital age, programs like EHRs (Electronic Health Records), telemedicine tools and various patient-care based platforms are improving the overall patient care services. Several health improvement smartphone apps have played a positive role in the upgrading of personal healthcare.

Almost every disease including cancer, dietary issues, diabetes, etc. has lots of smartphone apps, and heart health is not excluded from it. In fact, there are many apps available for cardiac examination.

Based on University of Ottawa’s research findings, smartphone applications have great potential when it comes to helping medical practitioners make decisions at the bedside of the patient.

Researcher Benjamin Hibbert had a lot to say about this trial. “Because of the widespread availability of smartphones, they are being used increasingly as point-of-care diagnostics in clinical settings with minimal or no cost,” he said.

“For example, built-in cameras with dedicated software or photodiode sensors using infrared light-emitting diodes have the potential to render smartphones into functional plethysmographs [instruments that measure changes in blood flow]”, Hibbert continued.

During the trial, the research team made a comparison between the usages of an application that monitors heart rate (they utilized the 4.5 version of Instant Heart Rate application on an iPhone 4S) and the modified Allen test. In modified Allen test, the flow of blood is determined of the radial and ulnar arteries in the wrist, and one of those is used to obtain the heart for coronary angiography.

A coronary angiogram is a special type of X-ray test, which is performed to see if coronary arteries in a body are obstructed or contracted.

In this experiment, 438 individuals participated who were divided into two groups.

Participants in one group were assessed with the heart-rate monitoring app and participants of other group were assessed with a conventional method of physical examination with the gold standard, recognized as the Allen test.

In the final results, the smartphone app achieved the accuracy of 94 % and traditional method achieved the accuracy of 84 %.

Technology is moving forward at a rapid pace, and that’s what makes it more important that people know about the new developments that happen in the digital health industry. In this, the healthcare profession and regulatory organizations can play a big role. They should take proactive steps to tackle the trials that are linked with bringing smartphone-based health solutions into everyday medical practice in order to get their full benefits.

Image credit: www.istockphoto.com

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