A team of researchers from University of Turku, Finland, has developed a low-cost app that uses the smartphone’s existing hardware. such as accelerometer and gyroscope to detect atrial fibrillation.
For those who don’t know, what is atrial fibrillation? It is a common type of abnormal heart rhythm which leads to a stroke. Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating. Often it starts as brief periods of abnormal beating which become longer and possibly constant over time. Most episodes have no symptoms.Occasionally there may be heart palpitations, fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pain. The disease is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, dementia, and stroke.
“Atrial fibrillation is a dangerous medical condition present in two per cent of the global population and accounting for up to seven million strokes per year,” said lead author Tero Koivisto, a vice-director of the Technology Research Centre (TRC), University of Turku, Finland.
The researchers claimed that with pre-emptive medication, nearly 70 percent of atrial fibrillation generated strokes can be avoided. Also, they said that atrial fibrillation often occurs randomly on/off and is difficult to detect by visiting a doctor. Hence, to avoid the bulky traditional ECG machines, with clumsy patches or wires which irritate the skin, the developers has launched such app.
To detect atrial fibrillation one should place the phone with app running on it, on his chest, and then let the app work to analyse the result.
“We measured the actual motion of the heart via miniature accelerometers and gyroscopes that are already installed in smartphones. No additional hardware is needed and people just need to install an app with the algorithm we developed,” Koivisto added.
The research included 16 patients with atrial fibrillation in addition with 20 recordings from healthy people who were used as control group data to validate the developed algorithm and tested the ability of a smartphone to detect atrial fibrillation without any add-on hardware. The investigators concluded that the app yields results accurately with more than 95 percent of precision.
The study was first published in journal European Society of Cardiology.