Smartphone device puts heart monitor at fingertips

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD)- Whether it’s tracking activity, sleep or calories mobile technology is changing how we monitor our health.

A handful of apps and devices are highly sophisticated and even approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use.

For business travelers like 69-year-old Tom Cooney of Avon, Ohio, who has atrial fibrillation, a portable, wireless device to record his heart rhythm was a welcome change of pace.

“I do a lot of traveling -thousands of miles sometimes – a week,” said Cooney.

Cooney monitors his heart condition daily with a portable E-K-G, but commuting with a traditional heart monitor was difficult. Then, he tried a new piece of technology that combines an electrode-wired smartphone case and an app to record his heart rhythm.

“You just hold your phone and make sure your fingers are touching the metal plates on the back of the device and it records your rhythm strip,” said Khaldoun Tarakji, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic.

Research conducted by Dr. Tarakji’s team at Cleveland Clinic has shown that recordings from the smartphone device were comparable to those from traditional monitors.

“They have excellent sensitivity and specificity, so it did the job,” said Dr. Tarakji.

Recordings from the device can be saved and then emailed for interpretation by a doctor – which is one of the device’s challenges according to Dr. Tarakji.

So, he recently helped developed a cloud-based delivery platform that allows physicians instant access to a patient’s recordings and also provides better security.

Cooney said this type of technology makes monitoring his heart more convenient, and brings peace of mind.

“I could tell if there’s something different with my heart than normally when I’m looking at this, so yeah, it makes a difference, gives me a sense of confidence as to where I am and what I should do,” said Cooney.

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