ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A Fitbit tracks your steps, an app counts your calories, and now a smartphone can monitor your heart rate. How a newly FDA-approved tool is transforming the way doctors and patients are taking on healthcare and helping one man fight Afib.
Tom Cooney, 70, is always on the go.
“Yeah I do a lot of traveling. Thousands of miles sometimes a week.” Cooney told Ivanhoe.
Even when he was diagnosed with Afib, a condition where patients have an irregular heartbeat, he didn’t want to let that slow him down. So when his doctor showed him a device that combines a smartphone case wired with electrodes, and an app that can let Cooney monitor his own heart rhythm, he was in.
“You know when you go like this on your hand and you feel it going fast, that’s all you get, right, but when you see what’s going on with your, with your heart and the rhythm then you get a better idea of where you’re at,” Cooney explained.
Cooney was one of the first patients in a Cleveland Clinic trial testing the new device. Doctors found the new smartphone monitor was just as accurate as traditional monitors and was easier to use.
“Patients loved it and they found it fun to use. You get them engaged so now they’re not just a passive component,” Khaldoun Tarakji, MD, Electrophysiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio told Ivanhoe. (Read Full Interview)
For Cooney, it is making it more convenient when it comes to managing his healthcare.
Cooney continued, “I could tell if there’s something different with my heart than normally when I’m looking at this, so yeah it makes a difference, it gives me a sense of confidence as to where I am and what I should do.”
And keeping Cooney’s health on par with his traveling schedule.
The device is also allowing patients to do virtual doctor visits, cutting down on traveling time when a physical exam is not necessary.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: SMARTPHONE MONITORS THE HEART!
REPORT: MB #4275
BACKGROUND: Atrial fibrillation can result in rapid heart rates and can increase susceptibility to a stroke, heart failure, and other heart related complications. The heart’s two upper chambers, also known as the atria, can beat irregularly and can be out of sync with the two lower chambers, also known as the ventricles. These complications can lead to shortness of breath and weakness. The condition can become severe enough to result in blood clots and blocked blood flow (ischemia). Someone suffering from atrial fibrillation should seek immediate professional treatment before the condition becomes severe.
STANDARD TREATMENT: Medications are often prescribed to prevent and treat blood clots. The drugs usually used to treat the condition are a variety of different blood thinners. It is important to steer clear of antiplatelets (aspirin) and anticoagulants as they increase the risk of bleeding. Another thing to avoid is contact sports, as they can cause unnecessary trauma that may result in a trip to the emergency room. In addition, there are beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and digoxin medications to control the heart rate. Patients may also be prescribed potassium channel blockers and sodium channel blockers to control the heart’s rhythm.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: SmartHeart is a personal electrocardiogram (ECG) that allows the patient to monitor the heart whenever possible. The SmartHeart is an adjustable strap that goes around the body, and after adjusting the device onto the body all it needs is a push of a start button, and it records just as a regular ECG would. This gadget allows only 30 seconds to record the ECG, and afterwards the graph results are sent to a smartphone or tablet. This information could then be sent to a physician or hospital for diagnosis, for fast diagnosis. The app is free, and allows usage for iPhone and Android users. This device comes in handy in disturbing situations, and can send an alert whenever an irregular or abnormal heart condition arises. This device is used to be preemptive, as 50 percent of heart-related deaths occur before one can get into a hospital.
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