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New Smartphone App Identifies Fatal Heart Attacks Accurately

New Smartphone App Identifies Fatal Heart Attacks Accurately

Written by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on November 12, 2018 at 4:28 PM
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  • New smartphone app, the AliveCor app accurately diagnoses a serious and potentially life-threatening form of heart attack termed ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) and could be a life saving tool
  • AliveCor App is able to differentiate between STEMI and non-STEMI type of heart attacks
  • Rapid diagnosis of STEMI in a person with chest pain and other warning symptoms can help start immediate treatment, especially in areas where expensive ECG machines are not readily available

AliveCor App, a smartphone app that comes with a two-wire attachment identifies serious, life-threatening ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) as accurately as a 12 lead ECG and can be a life-saving tool, according to a recent international study, led by scientists from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

Other centers taking part in this study termed ST LEUIS International Multicenter Study included Duke University, Integris Heart Hospital (Oklahoma City), Catholic University (Argentina), Stanford University, Mayo Clinic, Erlanger Institute for Clinical Research (Tennessee), University of Utah Health, AliveCor Corporation, and the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

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New Smartphone App Identifies Fatal Heart Attacks Accurately

The results of the study were presented at the American Heart Association's 2018 Scientific Session in Chicago.

J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, lead investigator of the study and cardiovascular researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute said: "The sooner you can get the artery open, the better the patient is going to do. We found this app may dramatically speed things up and save your life."

Assessing the Efficacy of AliveCor App in Diagnosing Heart Attacks

In the study, about 204 patients with chest pain had standard 12-lead ECG taken and also an ECG through the AliveCor app. The study team found the AliveCor App with the wire set-up as effective in distinguishing STEMI from not-STEMIs as a traditional 12-lead ECG

"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," Dr. Muhlestein said.

How Does the AliveCor App Record ECG?

A typical ECG has 12 leads, and each lead records a different part of the heart. Thus, the accuracy of diagnosis is greatly enhanced since heart attacks can happen in different areas of the heart. With the AliveCor app, the two wire leads are moved around the body, so that, all the 12 areas can be accurately recorded.

The inspiration for this kind of ECG recording came from seeing people using treadmills wearing a simple device that can detect their heart rate through a single ECG lead, which is more accurate than checking the pulse. "It's a simple jump from there to putting it on a smartphone, and then recording the same ECG lead from several body positions," he said.

In fact, the new Apple 4 smartwatch also comes with an inbuilt single-lead ECG.

What are STEMI and Non-STEMIs?

A STEMI or ST-elevation myocardial infarction results from sudden complete (100%) blockage of a heart artery (coronary artery). A non-STEMI is usually caused by a severe narrowing of the artery, but the artery is not completely blocked. Thus STEMI is more of a medical emergency and life-threatening. The diagnosis is made by an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).

Scope of the Study and Use of AliveCor App

  • The AliveCor can greatly speed up the diagnosis of a serious ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) by uploading the ECG recording online to be immediately reviewed by a cardiologist. If the ECG is STEMI positive, the person can be rushed to the hospital for treatment
According to the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines the "door-to-balloon time" (time from entering the hospital to when a catheter with a balloon tip is introduced into the blocked vessel, and then inflated so that the plaque blocking the lumen of the artery is flattened against its wall) is less than 90 minutes.
  • The cost of the AliveCor App with the two wire lead is low and makes ECGs accessible to anyone with a smart phone, but who may not have ready access to ECG machines
  • The AliveCor App can help diagnose persons who may otherwise ignore their chest pain as "gas" or something trivial and avoid going to the emergency department
References :
  1. Smart phone application to detect heart attacks almost as accurately as an ECG - (https://tech2.org/aus/smart-phone-application-to-detect-heart-attacks-almost-as-accurately-as-an-ecg/)
  2. Scientific Sessions 2018 - (https://exhibitatsessions.org/scientific-sessions/)
  3. What's a NSTEMI? Non ST Segment Myocardial Infarction - (https://myheart.net/articles/nstemi/)

Source: Medindia

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