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Medical conditions: Atrial Fibrillation

posted Nov 25, 2012, 10:22 PM by Dmitri Boulanov   [ updated Nov 25, 2012, 10:22 PM ]
This is the first update on the medical conditions we're currently exploring to help monitor using our platform. The one that comes to mind when using portable electrocardiograms (EKGs) are arrythmias. More specifically, we were told that atrial fibrillation might be a good start and point of focus. Some relevant notes...

1) Prevalence of diagnosed atrial fibrillation in adults (Journal of American Medical Association, 2001) states that atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for stroke (5x), accounts for approximately 15% of all strokes and the current population with the condition stands at approximately 2.3M adults, with the majority being elderly patients. The note of interest here, which identifies the opportunity for a platform such is ours is:

"...Our study also had several limitations. It is likely that we missed some patients with atrial fibrillation. In patients with asymptomatic atrial fibrillation, which occurs more frequently than what has been previously estimated,1516 or paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, the only way to detect the arrhythmia would be through frequent repeated electrocardiograms (which would depend on atrial fibrillation being present at the time of the test) or continuous 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiographic monitoring. Neither of these options is feasible for such a large population..."

The last statement may be made false by the development of cheaper sensors and a system that integrates wireless sensors and puts up the data into the cloud - much like the one we are focusing on. Our population with the medical problem is summarized below:

"... atrial fibrillation affects 1 in 25 adults 60 years or older and nearly 1 in 10 adults 80 years or older. Atrial fibrillation confers a large burden from symptoms and ischemic stroke on elderly patients presently, and its impact will be amplified as the number of individuals with atrial fibrillation increases nearly 2.5-fold over the next 50 years. Coordinated efforts by cardiologists, primary care providers, and neurologists will be needed to meet the increasing challenge of stroke prevention and rhythm management in the growing elderly population with atrial fibrillation..."

With our system, perhaps we can enable all of these medical professionals to better coordinate their care around this serious condition, thus improving patient outcomes.

2) A number of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) facts are described on this cardiology website. The following description of the symptoms makes us think that perhaps the patient could take mobile measurements whenever these come up and the patient knows he/she is at risk of the condition or other heart problems: "...The most common signs of AF are heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath..."

3) One of the current ways to detect and diagnose Atrial Fibrillation is to get continuous measurements from a Holter Monitor loaned out to you from your primary doctor, local clinic, or hospital. Perhaps our mobile EKG solution could be a light-weight version of the same, that could be provided to a greater population at a lower cost (made more available through pharmacies, etc).