How effective will mobile ECG devices be?
Thousands of devices including mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) units are being distributed to GP practices, pharmacies and NHS community clinics across London during February as part of National Heart Month.
A smartphone-linked device that works via an app and a new blood pressure cuff that detects heart rhythms will also be available in the scheme which is run by Academic Health Sciences Networks (AHSN) and funded by NHS England.
The aim of the devices, which are small and described as easy to use, is to reduce the numbers of people who suffer from stroke by detecting atrial fibrillation (irregular heart rhythm) early.
Stroke Physician and lead on the project for AHSN, Professor Gary Ford, said more than 420,000 people in England are unaware they have AF. There are highly effective treatments to prevent stroke, he said, but early detection is the key.
‘Using cost-effective technology, the NHS will now be able to identify people with irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily. This will save lives,’ he said.
The project aims to identify 45,474 new cases of AF over two years which could prevent 924 strokes and save 231 lives. This would save the NHS £20.6m a year.
The devices are being rolled out by the 15 NHS AHSNs in the first six months of this year.