Some smartphone companies like to claim there’s an app for everything, but few of us ever thought there might be an app that can literally save a life. Thanks to the work of a company that makes medical devices, we’ve reached that breakthrough.
A study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting reveals that the KardiaMobile app from AliveCor could determine if a patient is having an extremely deadly type of heart attack called a STEMI, or ST-elevation myocardial infarction. A STEMI heart attack indicates that the carotid artery is completely blocked. Check out these 9 things to know about a heart attack before you have one.
The experiment, done at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, tracked 204 adults who had experienced chest pain. The volunteers got the app plus two echocardiogram (ECG) leads they could place on their chests, which communicated with the AliveCor app. They also got a standard 12-lead ECG. When the volunteers experienced heart pain, both monitors were used to track their symptoms. According to researchers, the app was just as effective as the ECG in distinguishing a STEMI from other types of heart conditions or attacks. Find out exactly what you should do if you think you’re having a heart attack.
“We found the app helped us diagnose heart attacks very effectively—and it didn’t indicate the presence of a heart attack when one wasn’t occurring,” J. Brent Muhlestein, MD, lead investigator of the study and a cardiovascular researcher at the institute, said in a press release. This can help reduce the number of fatalities from a STEMI heart attack because of the early warning the app gives the user. The app sends the results to a cardiologist, who can review it and tell the user so that he or she can get to the hospital. “The sooner you can get the artery open, the better the patient is going to do. We found this app may dramatically speed things up and save your life,” Dr. Muhlestein said. Learn 6 warning signs you may be about to go into cardiac arrest.
Dr. Muhlestein added that the timing factor and the ability to detect a heart attack are two of the main reasons this is such an important breakthrough in health. “If somebody gets chest pain and they haven’t ever had chest pain before, they might think it’s just a bug or it’s gas and they won’t go to the emergency room. That’s dangerous because the faster we open the blocked artery, the better the patient’s outcome will be,” he said.
The KardiaMobile app is still undergoing testing at medical centers around the United States, but you can find a version of it for purchase from AliveCor. Now read about 30 ways to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.