New wireless sensors and diagnostic algorithms promise simpler ways to remotely monitor cardiac patients for early warning signs of heart failure or heart attack.
Monitoring Heart Failure
A 15-centimeter wireless sensor (right) approved this spring by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is part of a monitoring system now being marketed. The system spots signs of heart failure by detecting fluid buildup in the lungs and elsewhere in the body–a hallmark of heart failure–and analyzing the patient’s activity levels, heart rate, and respiration. When attached to a patient’s chest, it beams data to a special cell-phone-like gadget in the person’s pocket or somewhere nearby. From there, the information is wirelessly transmitted to the company’s servers. Algorithms detect anomalies, and physicians receive the data via the Web or a mobile device.
Credit: Bruce Peterson
Product: PiiX sensor device; zLink portable transmitter
Cost: $400 to $700
Detecting Heart Attacks
AngelMed’s implantable device (left) alerts high-risk patients when they show signs of a heart attack and could help them get medical attention sooner. Whereas existing implantable devices are designed to detect electrical irregularities in the heart, known as arrhythmias, this device uses novel algorithms to detect problems with blood flow. The device picks up a subtle abnormality in electrical current that occurs when one of the coronary arteries is blocked by a clot. When the device detects these signs of heart attack, it generates a buzz that the patient can feel, alerting him or her to call 911. Approved in Brazil, the device is undergoing clinical testing in the United States.
Courtesy of Angelmed
Product: AngelMed Guardian System
Cost: Not available