A wearable device that can predict a patient getting an episode of heart failure or brain stroke is on the anvil. The device, developed by UK-based company Cambridge Heartware, gives real time diagnosis of abnormal heart rhythms that may cause a heart problem and lead to a paralytic stroke. Indian origin researcher Rameen Shakur and team from the University of Cambridge have developed what they claim is a high-tech but cost-effective device, suitable for Asian countries, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Now in advanced clinical testing stage with the UK’s National Health Service, the device monitors and gives out parameters that are key contributors to an impending heart episode. “It is particularly geared for the over-65 age groups who have the highest prevalence of strokes globally. The device is very easy to mass produce and the data can be transmitted remotely anywhere in the cloud, where our software is tracking and diagnosing any abnormal rhythms,” Shakur told BusinessLine over the phone.
There are several companies producing wearable device technology to monitor health parameters. Cambridge Heartware has developed a proprietary algorithm. The prototype is ready, and the project has been funded by the UK’s National Institute of Health Research Programme.
The device uses Bluetooth to connect to an app to complete the cycle. “Our effort is to make this device accessible to people — especially in rural areas, where, often, access to medical specialists coupled with diagnostics services is very difficult” he added.
The company is aiming to develop a one-stop process to diagnose arrhythmias so the patient does not have to travel for diagnosis. One of the major advantages is the simplicity of the device design — the patient can wear it and continue with his or her routine activities. Also, it completely wireless.
“However, its greatest edge is that the device can process the data in the cloud and give an instantaneous diagnosis,” said Juned Kadiwala, a team member. In addition, patients can press a button for any symptoms of arrhythmia. This helps doctors and patients monitor, diagnose and manage health in coordination.
The company’s algorithm has recorded data from the first pilot unbiased patients. On comparison, the recorded electrical activity was clinically similar to the current gold standard — the Holter monitor — in diagnosing arrhythmias, the researchers said.