Anyone fearful of developing atrial fibrillation may be happy to learn that there is a new smartphone application that can help detect irregular pulses that characterize the heart condition. This new app, which was designed for the iPhone 4S, uses two algorithms that work in detecting AF from sinus rhythm. The study results of the new app were published online December 7, 2012 in Heart Rhythm.

“A number of patients who are referred to us have pretty symptomatic atrial fibrillation,” said lead investigator Dr. David McManus (University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worchester, Mass.). “So they are highly motivated to keep track of their episodes. We traditionally order Holter monitors and event monitors to capture the coming-and-going episodes of atrial fibrillation. I thought there was a potential role to leverage the fact that everybody has a smartphone and to use that as a means to do a sort of physiological assay of the patient.”

When talking to heartwire, McManus stated that as a way for patients to catch an AF episode, they usually wear Holter and similar event monitors for as long as 30 days. The problem with this method is that some of the paroxysmal events are too sporadic for doctors to really be bothered. This new app may make accessibility easier for doctors and patients by letting patient record their pulse in the middle of an episode. This will help doctors define the cause, and decide if it is AF.

This new app works by using the phone’s built-in camera and flash as a way to highlight the fingertip when it’s placed on the camera’s surface. It works similarly to a pulse oximeter, which takes an infrared light that helps the highlight the finger and changes color in the event of an AF episode.

Of the study that monitored the app’s effects on patients, McManus said, “For the purposes of this study, we had patients keep their fingertip on the camera for two minutes, but we have that down now where we’ve shown that even one minute is sufficient. So it’s a quick biopsy of person’s pulse that appears to be highly accurate compared with a 12-lead ECG, which is what we used in this study.”

AF is a condition that is characterized by patients experiencing irregular heartbeats and flutters. The condition is often treated with prescription anticoagulant drugs like Multaq. The drug has been linked to serious side effects — liver failure, worsening of the heart condition, lung disease and pulmonary toxicity — that has rendered Multaq unsafe for use.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure, a worsening of the heart condition, lung disease or pulmonary toxicity after taking Multaq, contact attorney Greg Jones for a free consultation today. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.