Wearable device ‘may prevent heart failure hospitalisation’

Monitoring of heart failure patients in their homes using a wearable developed by Analog Devices Inc (ADI) has shown in a new study that it may be able to reduce costly hospitalisations.

The research – which has just been presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Heart Failure Congress in Lisbon – showed that ADI’s Sensinel cardiopulmonary management system was able to detect changes in fluid in patients with heart failure that could be a precursor to readmission to hospital.

The Sensinel system, which was launched in the US earlier this year, consists of a wearable that is applied to the skin of the patient’s chest, communicating via Bluetooth with a mobile app that provides information to patients and healthcare professionals.

It is worn for between three and five minutes at a time, measuring a series of cardiopulmonary indicators including diastolic heart sound strength, heart sounds, heart rate, relative tidal volume, temperature, thoracic impedance, respiratory rate, and body posture. It also includes a single-lead ECG.

In the 66-subject CONGEST-HF trial presented at HFC, the system was shown to detect changes in fluid in patients with heart failure who had been admitted to hospital to receive fluid removal, either by decongestion therapy or haemodialysis. It was also able to detect the changes in fluid and weight in patients as they had fluid removed.

According to researchers at the University of Glasgow who carried out the study, the next step will be to conduct a larger trial to determine if the device can detect fluid accumulation in patients at home, allowing early treatment that could reduce hospitalisations.

“As the device is designed to be used by patients at home, we hope that in the future we can give the device to patients and detect fluid accumulation early, thereby allowing us to alter their medication and prevent them from needing a costly hospital admission,” commented Prof Pardeep Jhund, the study’s senior author.

“As the device is only worn for less than five minutes twice a day this could be a real alternative to expensive implanted monitors or monitors that have to be worn all the time.”

Current detection methods rely on expensive, invasive monitoring through the use of specially designed pacemakers or monitoring pressures in the lungs using implanted sensors.

When it launched Sensinel, ADI noted that in the US, more than 6 million people are living with heart failure, with the number set to rise to 8 million by the end of the decade, citing estimates from the American Heart Association (AHA). The disease costs around $30 billion a year – mostly due to hospitalisations – and could rise to $70 billion by 2030.

A similar wearable approach to remote monitoring of heart failure patients in order to prevent hospitalisations is being developed by Netherlands-based medtech company AIKON Health, which spun out of the national R&D agency TNO last year.

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