Navigation Links
Heart Attack? Doctors Soon May Have an App for That
Date:5/17/2013

By Brenda Goodman
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- There are apps that turn your smartphone into a metal detector, a musical instrument and a GPS system, and now there's an app that may help doctors save your life if you're having a heart attack.

The app, which was designed by engineers and critical care physicians, helps doctors rapidly diagnose certain kinds of severe heart attacks, called STEMIs, before patients get to the hospital.

The app currently is in the experimental stage, but it has undergone field testing.

In a STEMI heart attack, which stands for ST segment elevated myocardial infarction, a clot completely blocks blood flow to the heart. About a quarter of a million people have STEMIs each year in the United States.

These kinds of heart attacks create a unique pattern of pulses when doctors hook up patients to an electrocardiogram, or EKG, machine, which measures the heart's electrical activity.

The problem is that doctors need to see the EKG reading, which is called a tracing, to properly diagnose the attack and quickly assemble the team of specialists that is needed to clear the clot.

There are proprietary systems that use EKG machines hooked up to modems to send images back to hospital computers, but those systems are expensive and not all hospitals and EMS systems can afford them.

As an alternative, paramedics can use their smartphones in the field to snap a picture of the tracing and send it to a doctor at the hospital via email.

But as anyone who has ever tried to email a picture from their phone knows, it's far from foolproof. Large, high-quality images -- the kind doctors need to see -- can take several minutes to send and receive.

To address the issue, Dr. David Burt, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia, challenged a class of systems engineering students to develop an app that could shrink images to make them faster to send, but still maintain the clarity needed for diagnoses.

"It's very easy to use," Burt said. "You hold it over the EKG tracing, you snap a picture." Hitting a button sends the image. When it's finished, the app shakes and makes noise to alert senders to the successful transmission.

"It's very simple but we want it to be very rugged, so that it's kind of like a hammer -- it always works," he said. He also wants to offer the app at no cost to doctors and hospitals.

So far, Burt said, they have tested the app more than 1,500 times using different wireless carriers in a city.

They also have pitted the app against the alternative method of using an iPhone to email a picture. In that study, the app consistently sent images within four to six seconds. Emailed images could take nearly two minutes to go through. The app failed less than 1 percent of the time, while the emailed images flopped between 3 percent and 71 percent of the time, according to the study.

The study is scheduled for presentation Friday at an American Heart Association meeting in Baltimore. Studies presented at medical conferences are considered preliminary because they haven't yet undergone the scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Iltifat Husain, founder of the iMedicalApps website, which keeps up with news about technology in medicine, said he was impressed by the app, but also by how thoroughly the team has been testing it. Husain estimates that less than 1 percent of apps that are developed for doctors are field tested to see if they actually work.

"Something like this would have to be tested before it was put to use because of how critical the information is that you're relaying," said Husain, who was not involved in the research.

Husain, who also is an emergency medicine resident at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., said the time the app shaves off image transmission could be critical.

"The longer you wait, the more heart muscle dies, so every minute counts," he said. "Actually, every second counts."

Surviving a STEMI depends on how quickly doctors can restore blood flow, which often is done by snaking a catheter up to the heart and using a small balloon to clear the clot.

"We'll get an EKG reading and the ER physician will activate the cath lab. Once you activate it, a huge team has to be assembled," Husain said. "If it's overnight, people are sometimes coming in from home. If you can get someone coming in from home five minutes faster, I think it's a big deal."

More information

For more about heart attacks, head to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCES: David Burt, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Iltifat Husain, M.D., second-year emergency medicine resident, Wake Forest Baptist Health System, Winston-Salem, N.C., and founder, iMedicalApps website; May 17, 2013, presentation, American Heart Association meeting, Baltimore


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Control of Heart Risks May Vary Among Outpatient Practices
2. Control of heart disease risk factors varies among outpatient practices
3. Transonic Supports Surgeon’s Dream for Ethiopian Children’s Heart Center and Training Facility
4. Heart Risks Last Beyond Hospital Discharge, Study Finds
5. Get Fit in Middle Age to Cut Heart Failure Risk, Study Says
6. Young Women Less Healthy Than Men Before Heart Attack: Study
7. Costlier Heart Device May Not Be Worth It, Study Suggests
8. Hysterectomy May Not Raise Heart Risks After All: Study
9. Many Heart Defects Arent Inherited, Study Finds
10. Mount Sinai Researchers Identify Gene Mutations in Congenital Heart Disease
11. Researchers take important step in unlocking what causes congenital heart disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Heart Attack? Doctors Soon May Have an App for That
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, ... remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and ... Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click here . , For ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios ... X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and ... to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two ... currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They don’t ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts ... applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention ... health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( ... take whatever measures required to build a strong and ... is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current trading ... and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in market ... not only by the Company, but shareholders and market ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Consumers have taken a more active ... more emphasis on patient outcomes. ... the pharmaceutical industry have evolved beyond just providing ... are focusing on becoming more patient-oriented across their ... services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) ... developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous ... the closing of its previously announced underwritten public ... the public offering price of $18.75 per share. ... offered by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: