Our mobile phones are steadily become our digital alter egos, programmed with a huge amount of information about us ranging from our musical tastes to favourite restaurants to bank details.
Soon, your mobile phone will start to collect information about you that you might not even be aware of, such as your heart rate. If you’re a fitness junkie, monitoring your heart rate during exercise helps you ensure you get the maximum cardiovascular workout. But if you have heart disease, or are at a high risk of developing it, real-time monitoring of your heart rate might save your life. Health diagnostics company Alive Technologies has developed a system that not only monitors heart rate in real-time but also transmits that information to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. The information can then be sent to a healthcare centre to allow doctors to monitor the health of their patients remotely.
This is particularly useful in monitoring arrhythmias – irregular heartbeats – such as a premature ventricular contraction (PVC), in which the heart occasionally beats abnormally. PVCs are relatively common and can occur in otherwise healthy people of any age. For the most part, it’s benign, but in people with existing heart disease, a PVC can trigger a more serious condition in which the heart beats too fast. But detecting PVCs can be tricky because the patient must be hooked up to an ECG machine when the PVC occurs, and this doesn’t always happen. The Alive Heart Monitor can remain attached to a patient for twenty-four hours a day, monitoring and transmitting their heartbeat to a computer or a central collection point, thus making it much easier for a PVC to be detected and analysed.