Hospitals in England are trialling a new monitoring device that patients wear at home to help improve and speed up the diagnosis of irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia).


Copyright: – “AI heart monitoring cuts wait times”


In Liverpool Heart and Chest – one of the hospitals where this technology has been piloted – patient waiting lists have been reduced from as high as 8 weeks to a matter of days. There were concerns that this figure could have greatly increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

Early detection of heart rhythm disorders, such as atrial fibrillation which affects an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK, can help to avoid more serious medical events, including stroke.

Liverpool Heart and Chest, Barts, Bristol Southmead, East Kent and Gloucestershire hospitals, amongst others, joined the pilot in 2021 to evaluate the new service which is funded through the NHS AI in Health and Care Award.

Until now, patients experiencing symptoms of an arrhythmia, such as heart palpitations or fainting, would typically need to go to hospital for 24 hours of monitoring using a traditional ECG monitor (called a Holter) for a diagnosis to be made – known as ambulatory cardiac monitoring.

This technology is over 20 years old, cumbersome and can pose a challenge in gaining a diagnosis due to the relatively short period of monitoring.

Instead, patients are being fitted with an AI-enabled monitor called ‘Zio XT’ which has been developed by digital healthcare company, iRhythm Technologies.

After up to 14 days of wearing the device, which is discreet and showerproof, the patient simply returns it by post for analysis by iRhythm using artificial intelligence (AI).[…]

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