Heart attacks could be diagnosed faster with new iPhone app

On May 23, 2013

According to a research study, an experimental iPhone app could become critical to the treatment of heart attacks.

Presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2013, the study claims this inexpensive app could speed treatment for the most fatal heart attack, known as STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), which involves a clot blocking blood flow to the heart, by transmitting diagnostic heart images more quickly and reliably than the usual emailing of the photo images.

In this study, the app transmitted the iPhone photo images of the electrocardiogram (ECG) in 4-6 seconds, compared to 17-48 seconds for the large-size e-mail images and 38-114 seconds for the actual-size images. Its failure rate is 120 seconds, which is a little under 0.5 percent, compared to the 3-71 percent failure rate of e-mail.

According to the study’s lead author, David R. Burt, M.D., “Simple cellular technology can save lives.”

The researcher, who is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, said, “This system may make pre-hospital ECG transmission a more inexpensive and reliable option. That can translate to faster treatment and saved lives.”

The app has been designed to take an ECG photo, center it, reduce its size, and still maintain clarity. It is currently undergoing tests.

Image: Forbes