Your Phone Could Soon Tell if You’re Having a Heart Attack

A newly developed App from AliveCor could be a major game changer for heart health.

Dec 2, 2018

(AliveCor)

Smartphones are truly amazing. With just a few taps, we can have all the world’s knowledge on the screen and know virtually anything. With the added ability to run apps, phones can turn into powerful helpers for our daily lives.

AliveCor, which already makes a tiny, portable EKG pad that fits in your pocket and syncs to your phone, is developing an app that can tell if a person is suffering from a serious heart attack. A recent study showed that the app is actually as accurate as an electrocardiogram (ECG) administered in a professional setting and can successfully detect symptoms of a heart attack.

AliveCor’s app focuses on one specific form of heart attack called an ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) that occurs when a major artery is completely blocked. These heart attacks are a life-threatening medical emergency and must be treated quickly.

"If somebody gets chest pain and they haven't ever had chest pain before, they might think it's just a bug or it's gas and they won't go to the emergency room," Dr. J. Brent Muhlestein, a cardiovascular researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and the study’s lead investigator, said in a statement. “We found this app may dramatically speed things up and save your life.”

In the study, 204 patients with chest pain received both the standard 12-lead ECG and an ECG taken with the AliveCor app. Researchers found that the app was able to distinguish between STEMI and non-STEMI ECGs.

"We found the app helped us diagnose heart attacks very effectively – and it didn't indicate the presence of a heart attack when one wasn't occurring," said Muhlestein.

The app comes with two lead wires that are moved around the body to record all 12 parts as a standard ECG would. The ECG is then sent into the cloud and reviewed by a cardiologist. If a STEMI is detected, the person is told to immediately go to a hospital for help.

The app is still in development, but it looks likely that AliveCor will be the first company to offer an at-home device capable of detecting this type of heart attack. In any case, AliveCor’s app would be an affordable way to bring ECG equivalent tech to rural areas that lack sufficient health care.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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