New App to Detect Stroke

LONDON: Now a smart phone app can be used to detect a stroke. It non-invasively and accurately detect Atrial fibrillation – a dangerous medical condition with an abnormal heart rhythmA�which may lead to a stroke, a recent scientific research has found.

According to the study, which is published in the Journal European Society of Cardiology, a team of researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, has developed a low cost app that uses the Smartphone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to detect Atrial fibrillation with the existing hardware.

“Atrial fibrillation is a dangerous medical condition present in 2 percent of the global population and accounting up to 7 million strokes per year,” said Tero Koivisto from the University of Turku, Finland.

Atrial fibrillation often occurs randomly on and off and is difficult to detect by visiting doctors. Around 70% of the strokes happening due to Atrial fibrillation can be avoided with a pre-emptive treatment and medicines.

There are relatively large and costly electrocardiogram (ECG) devices that patients can take home for long-term monitoring, but they require a patch or wires that are clumsy to use and continuous contact with electrodes tends to irritate the skin, researchers said.

The current study has tested the ability of a Smartphone to detect Atrial fibrillation without adding any extra hardware to it. Using this technology, researchers have detected Atrial fibrillation with a specificity and sensitivity of more than 95%.

Due to the above reasons, current methods for the detection of Atrial fibrillation are not feasible for the large scale screening of populations or highest risk age groups which can be said as 55 years and above.

If people want to check their cardiac status, they can simply lie down, place the Smartphone on their chest, take an accelerometer and gyroscope measurement, then use the app to analyze the result. They will get a simple yes or no answer as to whether they have Atrial fibrillation or not, researchers said.

“This is a low cost, non-invasive way to detect Atrial fibrillation. People can do this by themselves without any help from medical staff”, said Tero Koivisto from the University of Turku, Finland.

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