Identifying a 'STEMI' Heart Attack With an iPhone App
Experimental iPhone Heart Attack App May Save Lives
iPhone App sends EKG images in seconds with a high success rate to improve heart attack patient care.
By Jennifer J. Brown, PhD
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FRIDAY, May 17, 2013 —An experimental iPhone App transmits electrocardiogram (EKG) images faster and more reliably than standard methods, according to researchers, which may give doctors an important tool to help them treat patients who might be having a heart attack and for whom each minute matters.
The experimental app takes a photo of the EKG, which measures how well a patient's heart is functioning. The app reduces the photo's size and centers it, while maintaining the high level of clarity needed for an accurate heart attack diagnosis.
A research team led by David Burt Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville tested the new app over 1,500 times on a variety of carriers including Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. The images went through in only 4-6 seconds, much faster than the 17 to 48 seconds typicallly needed to transmit images as they typically are today via full sized images in an email. While traditional email transfer has a 3 to 71 percent failure rate, the study found that the app failed to deliver 0.5% of the time.
The experimental App was tested in urban areas, and the research team is now testing it in additional areas where cell-phone access is more limited.
Everyday Health spoke with cardiologist John Day, MD about barriers to effective care. “To get something as simple as an EKG from point A to point B often requires a fax machine as there is no universal secure way of transmitting medical data. Unfortunately, in the medical field faxes often never make it from point A to point B. If they do arrive, the transmissions are incredibly slow, especially with data rich documents like EKGs.” Dr. Day is Director of Heart Rhythm Services at Intermountain Medical Center and 2nd Vice President of the Heart Rhythm Society.
Speed is critical in treating people who have had heart attacks. The American Heart Association recommends administering medication within 30 minutes of an attack for best results and starting surgery, if indicated, within 90 minutes -- both of which depends on getting accurate EKG data to show just what the heart defect actually is. “There is a huge need, especially in cardiology, for real time secure data transmission of valuable potentially life-saving data like EKGs,” says Day.
Video: Anh ngữ đặc biệt: App Improve Heart Attack Survival (VOA)
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