At least 48% of all adults in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease, ScienceDaily reports — a term referring to any disorder involving the heart. Increasingly, tech companies are designing devices to monitor and protect heart health. From AED’s which treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest to smart monitors which alert paramedics to health abnormalities, health technology has lifesaving implications.
AED devices (automated external defibrillators) are easy-to-use medical devices, which help people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, the use of AED’s has been found to save roughly 1700 lives in the U.S. each year. AED’s analyze heart rhythm and deliver an electrical shock (defibrillation) if necessary to help the heart re-establish a healthy rhythm. 350,000 cardiac arrests happen out of the hospital country-wide each year. When bystanders apply an AED before emergency responders arrive, survival rates increase from 43% to 66.5%, a study by the American Heart Association found. Without bystander use of AED’s, 70% of cardiac arrest patients either died or survived with impaired brain function.
Smart heart watch
The iBeat Heart Watch ($250) looks like a normal wristwatch, but is designed to monitor the user’s heart rate (at a rate of 100 times per second). If an abnormality is detected, the user is alerted. If the user doesn’t respond within ten seconds, the paramedics are called, as well as a designated emergency contact. The watch also functions as a panic button, which can be pressed if the user falls, becomes incapacitated, or concerned about their safety in any way. There’s also a corresponding smartphone app which stores the user’s medical history and medical conditions for paramedics to access in an emergency (this service costs $20 per month).
Atrial fibrillation monitor
iRhythm, a wearable heart monitor company, is partnering with Verily to create new technology that monitors people at risk of atrial fibrillation — an irregular heart rhythm which leads to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. The technology (the specifics of which haven’t yet been revealed) is targeted toward those who may not know they have this silent condition but are at risk due to age (50+) and medical history. Recent studies show people diagnosed with a similar monitoring device had lower rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits compared to those who weren’t.
Heart health technology is designed to give people greater control over their own health. These devices enable faster diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions, which ultimately helps save lives.