Cardiovascular diseases have always been a focal point of public health worldwide with prevalent cases of them nearly doubled over the last three decades. One of the common causes for such diseases is a condition of atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) that can remain undiscovered until it is too late. Why it important to talk about?
According to recent data, there are around 60 million people around the world suffering from AF, while almost 120 million people worldwide may experience undiagnosed and asymptomatic AF. The disease is considered to be prevalent among the elderly, but it can also be diagnosed to younger people who might be unaware of the condition.
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION AND ITS REPERCUSSIONS
AFib can be described as an absolute arrhythmia characterized by irregular heartbeats and absence of P waves in electrocardiogram (ECG).
With AFib, the heart's upper chambers beat irregularly, they do not fill or pump enough blood to the lungs and body. Affecting blood flow to the heart muscle and the rest of the body can result in serious or even life-threatening complications.
Stroke is considered one of the major concerns and most likely outcomes of AF since the disorder has potential to develop blood clots within the upper chambers of the heart. In the event of a blood clot forming in the atria, it can be pumped out of the heart to the brain, blocking off the blood supply to an artery in the brain. This eventually leads to strokes.
Furthermore, AF can also lead to heart failure, as the heart can never properly fill up with blood to deliver it to the body because of a fast beat.
One of the underlying issues AF presents is that it only diagnosed when complications of stroke or heart failure occur. Although typically AFib manifests itself with symptoms like tachycardia, palpitations or dyspnea, it is estimated that from 10% to 40% of all the patients are asymptomatic.
SYMPTOMS OF ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
However, concerns about potential AF may arise from the following factors a human being can experience routinely:
- General fatigue
- Fluttering or thumping in the chest
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Shortness of breath and anxiety
- Faintness or confusion
- Fatigue when exercising
A standard 12-lead (ECG) is the key tool in the diagnosis of AF, yet it is only available within healthcare settings and can be measured by the professional staff. One of the limitations the ECG monitoring technique possesses is that it has a limited ability to characterize AF burden (the longest duration, number of AF episodes during a monitoring period). In other words, the problem arises when a patient visits the doctor and ECG does not display any disorders because at the very moment there were no symptoms detected that can come and go at any time.
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
To improve AF detection and accuracy of AF burden assessment, doctors are recommending digital health devices to patients. Emerging e-health technologies for atrial fibrillation detection are now essential in empowering physicians to perform early diagnosis of AF both in-hospital and out-of-hospital which may lead to earlier mortality-reducing therapy (e. g. anticoagulants).
In the era of remote and personalized patient care, one of the emerging trends is smart wearable devices that can generate plenty of data through various sensors and can help in cardiovascular risk assessment and disease prevention. The studies conducted in the past have indicated that wearables can be a convenient tool to diagnose symptomatic or even asymptomatic AFib due to its practical usability over longer periods of time.
It comes as no surprise that various enterprises, aiming at the identification AFib, created smartwatches that measure heart rhythm through ECG and photoplethysmography (PPG) with the help of a single lead ECG. However, there are concerns about their medical use, since many of them are not clinically validated.
TELTONIKA TELEMEDIC SOLUTION
Having evaluated the healthcare gap that can be filled and the prevalence of undiagnosed AF globally, Teltonika Telemedic has decided to concentrate on the diagnostic and remote monitoring solution - a medically approved smartwatch Horizon OneTT.
Driven by the patented technology, the wearable device will provide long-term heart rhythm monitoring and a multiple-lead ECG to detect AF on time. In comparison with the 1-lead ECG products in the market, HorizonOneTT possesses a 6-lead ECG (3 physical and 3 calculated) that is very close to the ones used by professionals in the hospitals. Since the smart device interacts with the cloud where certain data measurements are instantly calculated, the collected data on heart activity can be directly transmitted to a physician who would evaluate whether irregularities of heartbeat indicate an AF. Simultaneously, essential data may be programmed to be sent to relatives or caregivers.
In addition to medical virtues, HorizonOneTT functionalities include emergency buttons, two-way voice communication, man-down and no-movement detection as well as accurate GPS tracking. Therefore, it would be fair to say that these features also introduce a reliable safety solution for those who need quick assistance, the elderly and geriatric care specialists.
The conducted in-hospital trials with patients wearing HorizonOneTT has already demonstrated exceptional output, as overall accuracy of AFib detection accounted for 97.1%. Combined with the novel medicine technology and IoT mechanism, our smartwatch is projected to be launched in the upcoming months, while later it is expected to deliver the first devices to the hospitals. Stay tuned to hear more about the peculiarities of our new state-of-the-art solution!