Researchers in Finland have developed a mobile app and thumb-sized wearable device that accurately measures the user's heart rate and heart rate variability in order to detect not only an irregular heartbeat but also overburdening and prolonged stress.
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The Android-compatible app and device, Beat2Phone, measure ECG signals at a very high sampling rate, identify individual heart beats and count the interval between consecutive beats, and send a report to the user's mobile phone.
The device also includes position and activity sensors. Thanks to its flexible strap, the device is comfortable to wear, the researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland said in a statement.
The mobile device, which detects arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, has been tested with excellent results in real-life conditions in cooperation with Turku University Central Hospital and is expected to go on sale to consumers in six months' time, the statement added.
"The device is also suitable for pre- and post-surgery monitoring of heart patients at home. There is no need for patients to visit a hospital, because the data is sent automatically from a mobile phone to medical staff via a cloud service," said Timo Varpula, Principal Scientist at VTT.
The device has so far been tested by around 30 users, some of whom have also worn the device at night.
The patients were admitted for further tests once they had shown their Beat2Phone electrocardiograms to a physician.
In the tests, the device helped to detect atrial fibrillation, arrhythmia and a cardiac conduction disorder.
Persons suffering from harmless irregular heartbeat have also reported improved quality of life due to the measuring device alleviating the uncertainty about their condition.
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