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A new era of alarms

By Dylan Gunasekera

Heart and cardiovascular diseases are an ever-growing issue in the developed world, causing a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Researchers in Manchester may have found one way to help with this epidemic, potentially saving thousands, if not millions of lives.

A recent study in Manchester has investigated the use of implantable pacemakers with sensors to monitor patients heart health 24 hours a day. Traditionally, patients with heart failure that use pacemakers have appointments every 6 to 12 months, relying on patients self-reporting any times they feel unwell to book earlier appointments.

This study, however, recognised that pacemakers with sensors could be used as an early alarm system. Device-derived alerts could be sent to patient care teams, giving them real-time data on a patient that may be at a high risk of mortality. This removes the problem of patients not recognising when they are ill, reducing the risk of potentially life-threatening events occurring.

Dr Fozia Ahmed, Honorary Reader in Cardiovascular Sciences from The University of Manchester and Consultant Cardiologist at The Manchester Heart Centre said, “Remote monitory capabilities of modern-day cardiac devices enable continuous monitoring of health-related data in the patients’ own homes.” When it comes to healthcare, the earlier we act, the better the outcome, and with the use of continuous monitoring, like with this pacemaker, we can potentially improve the outcomes for so many.

At the moment, 80% of patients with heart failure are only diagnosed when they enter hospital. Early recognition systems can really help improve this figure. The development of this new digital recognition method could be the next stepping stone on the journey to improving the outcomes of cardiovascular diseases.

Could Manchester’s alarm wake us up to the world of digitalised healthcare?

Tags: healthcare, heart disease, medicine, pacemaker, University of Manchester

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