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13.07.2015

The mobile phone, a faithful friend of the heart?

Image | Flickr

Along with smart clothing, such as t-shirts from Nuubo, mobile applications also aim to combat various diseases and ailments and assist patients, doctors and researchers in their treatment.

We have already seen how mobile apps can help cases of autism and we are now seeing this replicated in the field of cardiology, from prevention to treatment and monitoring of heart problems.

In Barcelona, the BCN BIO HF Calculator has just been launched, an app that calculates ​​the life expectancy of patients with heart failure. Designed for professional use, the app has now met with approval from the European Commission. It’s development was a joint project from the heart unit in Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona, ​​in collaboration with the Institut d’Investigacions Hospital del Mar Mèdiques and Roche Diagnostics.

By introducing several biomarkers (elements that detect the state of a pathological process) and other data such as sex, age and the presence of sodium, it continuously monitors the progression of the disease as well as risk of mortality. The probability of risk of death in 1, 2 and 3 years is estimated as two of the Germans researchers, Antoni Bayes-Genisyo and Josep Lupón from the cardiology unit of the German hospital Trias i Pujol, explained to the to the Spanish Society of Cardiology. Data is also provided on the patient’s life expectancy in years.

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The application is an evolution of an already existing virtual calculator and it is now available to be used on mobile devices. It’s primary novelty is the inclusion of biomarkers, which provide an  “improvement in the prediction of risk by collecting twice the amount of clinical variables,” explained the two doctors.

The mission of BIO BCN HF Calculator is very important. The WHO reports that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. According to their statistics, in 2012 17.5 million people suffered from cardiovascular disease and 31% of these people died. Additionally, the app team found that heart failure was the leading cause of hospitalization in Spain over the last 65 years in Spain, representing 3% of all hospitalizations and 2.5% of health costs.

Making the Right Decision

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Image | Flickr

There are also apps that help to improve the diagnosis of these diseases. One of these is CodeHeart, which alerts cardiologists at the hospital when a patient is suffering a heart attack so they can notify doctors of their whereabouts when it’s happening. It also serves to help prepare the ambulance team on the way to the hospital and transmits vital information to the doctor from the vehicle.

A study presented earlier this year in the United States concluded that CodeHeart had allowed effective treatment of these patients up to 30% faster than in other cases, thus helping to save more lives. Another similar type app is ACCA Toolkit  which is also used to relay rapid diagnostics.

It is not only doctors that can take advantage of these tools.There are several applications that monitor the health of our most precious organ that we can use with relative ease. For instance, there are apps dedicated to CPR such as BHF PocketCPR which operates in real time to indicate if you are doing the emergency procedure correctly. There’s also Echocardiography, which allows a user to learn about the heart and its ailments.

We can’t ignore the factors that lead to heart disease, including stress. For this you can download apps like Stress Check, which calculates your stress level by asking several questions about your mood. Don’t forget a healthy diet, exercise and getting plenty of rest and these applications will be simply a curiosity that demonstrates the evolution of mHealth.