Heart Health Monitor App's Impact in Cardiovascular Healthcare

Scientists from Pasadena have developed a heart health monitor app that can provide information about the health of your heart at the touch of a button, an invention that can create a bold impact in cardiovascular healthcare.

What is exciting about this study is that it shows our technique is as accurate as echocardiography at estimating LVEF when both are compared to the gold standard of cardiac MRI.

Engineers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Huntington Medical Research Institute, and the University of Southern California (USC) have conducted successful clinical trials to demonstrate their app which uses a smartphone simply held to the users neck to give life-changing results.

According to reports, the app can deliver what used to require a 45-minute scan from an ultrasound machine in just a few minutes.

“The team developed a technique that can infer the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of the heart by measuring the amount that the carotid artery displaces the skin of the neck as blood pumps through it,” Pasadena Now reports.

“LVEF represents the amount of blood in the heart that is pumped out with each beat. In a normal heart, this LVEF ranges from 50 to 70 percent. When the heart is weaker, less of the total amount of blood in the heart is pumped out with each beat, and the LVEF value is lower,” it added.

LVEF is used by the medical profession as a key measure of heart health, used by physicians and professionals in the medical field to base diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.

To measure LVEF using the new app, researchers simply held iPhones against volunteers’ necks for one to two minutes. The volunteers immediately received an MRI read out, and data from both the standard MRI test and the new app test were compared.

Woman with heart health monitor app.

Scientists found that the measurements taken by the smartphone had a margin of error of ±19.1 percent compared with those done in an MRI machine. “By way of comparison, the margin of error for echocardiography is around ±20.0 percent. That means, for example, if the app generated an LVEF reading of 40, it would have a margin of error of 40 x 19 percent, which equals about plus or minus 7.6 points,” the paper stated.

The study has gained worldwide praise following its inclusion in the July issue of the reputable Journal of Critical Care Medicine, and the invention is already close to being rolled out commercially.

“In a surprisingly short period of time, we were able to move from invention to the collection of validating clinical data,” Caltech’s Mory Gharib (PhD ’83), senior author of the paper, said.

“What is exciting about this study is that it shows our technique is as accurate as echocardiography at estimating LVEF when both are compared to the gold standard of cardiac MRI. This has the potential to revolutionize how doctors and patients can screen for and monitor heart disease both in the US and the developing world,” Gharib said.

This bold idea will not only revolutionize the healthcare industry, but will allow heart suffers the ability to test their own heart health at home simply by using an app, saving countless lives in the process.

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