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Backing for ECG apps

Monday November 12th, 2018

Smartphone based ECG apps can be as accurate in diagnosing STEMI as a standard 12-lead device, a conference heard yesterday.

Phone users can buy a wearable device that offers the equivalent of two-leads together with an app to analyse it.

The device is compatible with iPhones and Android phones.

Researchers in Utah, USA, have now conducted a clinical trial, reported yesterday at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago, USA.

During the study, some 204 patients with chest pain received a standard 12-lead ECG and a test using the app.

Although the smartphone device only has two leads, users are instructed to move it around the body to capture the 12 sites of traditional ECG.

Modern iPhones offer a single-lead ECG facility.

The project was undertaken at five major medical centres in the USA and the UK and involved the device manufacturer, the AliveCor Corporation.

The app was as accurate as 12-lead ECG in identifying STEMI and did not give any false positives, the conference was told.

The researchers envisage the app being used by paramedics and other emergency responders to identify chest pain patients needing emergency treatment in hospital. They believe it might also help patients who are uncertain whether to call for help to decide what to do.

Researcher Dr Brent Muhlestein, of the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said: “We found the app helped us diagnose heart attacks very effectively - and it didn't indicate the presence of a heart attack when one wasn't occurring.

"If somebody gets chest pain and they haven't ever had chest pain before, they might think it's just a bug or it's gas and they won't go to the emergency room.

"That's dangerous, because the faster we open the blocked artery, the better the patient's outcome will be."

Tags: A&E | Heart Health | North America

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