Mobile health devices could detect common heart condition atrial fibrillation, says study

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Mobile health (mHealth) devices could help screen and detect a common heart condition atrial fibrillation (AF), according to the new study.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disturbance, affecting around one million people in the UK. People with atrial fibrillation are at increased risk of having a stroke and dying, as well as heart failure and dementia.

As part of the study, researchers have performed AF detection using mHealth devices such as smart wristbands and watches using photoplethysmography (PPG) technology made available for the population aged over 18 years across China for approximately seven months.

Of 187,912 participants, 424 (0.23%) individuals received a ‘suspected AF’ notification while 227 (87%) were confirmed as having atrial fibrillation by health providers and other secondary examinations.

Mobile health devices could detect atrial fibrillation, says study

Mobile health devices could detect atrial fibrillation, says study. Image courtesy of krishna arts at

Guo – one of the lead researchers and Associate Professor at Chinese PLA General Hospital in Beijing said: “Based on our present study, continuous home-monitoring with smart device based PPG technology could be a feasible, cost-effective approach for AF screening.

“There were 95% patients following entry into a programme of integrated AF care, and approximately 80% of high risk patients were successfully anticoagulated.

“This would help efforts at screening and detection of AF, as well as early interventions to reduce stroke and other AF-related complications.”

The research project was sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Health and Family Planning Commission of Heilongjiang Province, China, and partly supported by the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Atrial Fibrillation management.

Gregory Lip – one of the lead researchers and Lead for the Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science/Price-Evans Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at University of Liverpool said: “Improved AF care requires early detection and the opportunity for streamlined management decision-making.

“Better detection can be followed by implementing the priorities of AF management, which is as ‘easy as ABC’: Avoid stroke; Better symptom optimisation; Cardiovascular and risk factor management.”

The study, entitled ‘Mobile Health technology for atrial fibrillation screening using photoplethysmography-based smart devices: The HUAWEI Heart study’, was presented as ‘Late Breaking Science’ at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) annual congress and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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