Blog | Wednesday, January 9, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Smartphone app can detect afib

A smartphone app that detects atrial fibrillation has become the latest challenge the traditional doctor's armamentarium, in this case, the Holter monitor.

The app uses novel algorithm analyzing signals recorded using an iPhone 4S accurately distinguish afib from sinus rhythm.

To test the device, researchers prospectively recruited cohort of 76 participants undergoing cardioversion for persistent afib. The smartphone uses its camera's lamp and aperture to perform real-time pulse analysis using root mean square of successive RR difference (RMSSD/mean) and Shannon entropy (ShE). Results for sensitivity, specificity, and predictive accuracy of both algorithms were compared to 12-lead electrocardiogram.

Results appeared online in December in Heart Rhythm.

Researchers reported that an algorithm combining the RMSSD and ShE demonstrated excellent sensitivity (0.962), specificity (0.975), and accuracy (0.968) discriminating an irregular pulse during afib from sinus rhythm.

Researchers noted that 80% of American seniors use a mobile phone and that two-thirds of all Americans will have a smartphone 2015. They wrote, "In light of the increasing accessibility of smart-phones, a smartphone-based application for pulse analysis provides patients with, or at-risk for, AF with ready access to an inexpensive instrument for AF monitoring. Importantly, a large percentage of older individuals have reported a willingness to use their mobile phones for health management."

Eric Topol, MD, uses himself as a test patient for a device that attaches to the smartphone and turns finger pulses into lights that the phone's camera can interpret. Watch as he demonstrates the device on his blog.