Three steps to save yourself from a heart attack
Monitor your vital signs and detect the symptoms of a cardiac arrest
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “innovative technologies have enormous potential to increase human well-being”, since their portable nature enables us to have them within our reach at all times.
Now more than ever, and after a year and a half of the pandemic, technology is undoubtedly our best ally to combat Covid-19 in different and more creative ways. This includes smart masks that purify the air we breathe, or thermometers that can take the temperature of more than 200 people in less than one minute.
Despite this, we must not forget that there are other diseases, that already existed and, that have worsened with coronavirus. This is the case with diabetes, atrial fibrillation or heart failure, for example.
The complication of some diseases as a result of the emergence of Covid-19 has led to many patients staying away from health centers due to the fear of contracting coronavirus.
According to research carried out during the first week of lockdown and led by cardiologist Oriol Rodríguez, from the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona, “the advice that was given to the public was that, unless they felt extremely unwell, they should avoid going to the emergency department because hospitals were overwhelmed”.
To this recommendation, we can add the effects of Covid-19 itself, in addition to the collapse of hospitals, phenomena that overshadowed other diseases and caused “the number of hospital deaths due to acute myocardial infarction to increase by 50%” between 2019 and 2020, according to the study carried out by the Spanish Cardiology Society (SEC).
Heart failure can play out as a heart attack and its symptoms include chest pains or arm pains, nausea, heartburn, lack of air and sudden dizziness. To survive a heart attack, the first 45 minutes are the most important. However, many people don’t really know what is happening and they don’t call the emergency services. For that reason, experts in the subject have carried out research to find a solution to this common problem which causes 50,000 deaths each year, in Spain alone.
The wearable for high risk patients
The solution is called –Control de Pacientes de Alto Riesgo – (Monitoring for High Risk Patients) and is a wearable that reads your heart activity 24 hours a day. This textile garment is connected to your smartphone and sends notifications to the control center when it detects cardiopulmonary anomalies.
The device is Spanish and has been developed by a research team from Murcia under Tomás Vicente, head of the Cardiology Service at the Reina Sofía Hospital in Murcia, together with systems engineer Carlos Jiménez who is an expert in telemedicine.
How does it work?
It’s very simple. In just three steps, COPCAR is capable of detecting a wide range of heart problems; such as arrhythmia, chest angina or a heart attack.
- First of all, the device is positioned on the chest, named “MIDER”. This takes care of recording and sending signals to the mobile phone via Bluetooth.
- The second step is to connect the smartphone app to MIDER in order to be able to receive and analyze the heart rate in real time.
- The app will interpret this data and, in the event it detects a problem, it will contact the data center that will interpret the heart activity.
MIDER features an ECG monitoring system and has been designed for people with cardiovascular problems. When the app receives this signal, it analyses it and detects the anomaly, sends an alert to the Signal Collection Centre where the team of specialists assess the symptoms and notifies the patient, family members and nearby emergency services; with all of the information that has been collected and the severity of the user.
It acts 2 hours faster
Despite continuing to work on improving it, we are looking at a wearable whose main function is to save lives, reducing from 139 minutes – the average time it usually takes a patient to receive medical care after suffering a cardiac episode-, to 17 minutes in urban areas.