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New app can detect early signs of stroke


Researchers from the University of Turku have developed a smartphone application that detects atrial fibrillations.

“Around 70% of strokes due to atrial fibrillation could be avoided with pre-emptive medication. However, atrial fibrillation often occurs randomly and has very little symptoms, if any, which is why it is so hard to detect. Therefore the pre-emptive medication for a stroke is sometimes never started,” says Juhani Airaksinen, Professor of Cardiology  and the head of the operational division at the Heart Centre of Turku University Hospital.

The researcher team, led by Tero Koivisto, the Vice-Director of the Technology Research Centre (TRC) at the University of Turku, tested how well atrial fibrillation could be detected just by using a smartphone application. The study included 16 patients with atrial fibrillation from the Turku Heart Centre and a control group of 20 healthy people. The validity of the app was evaluated using the data collected from both groups. A smartphone was placed on the chest of the patient and accelerometer and gyroscope recordings were taken. Patients were advised to lie still in a prone or supine position during the measurements.

With this technology the researchers detected atrial fibrillation in more than 95% of cases.

“No extra equipment is needed for the measurement, people just have to download the app with the algorithm we have developed. The app should be available to the public in 2017”. To check cardiac status the patient can simply lie down, place the phone on their chest and start the measurement.  The app analyses the results and gives a simple yes/no answer as to whether the patient has atrial fibrillation or not.

Photo: To check the condition of the heart with the app, the person has to lie down, set the phone on their chest and start the measurement.