New smartphone App can replace ultrasound to measure heart health
The left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is a key indicator of a person's heart health. The LVEF value ranges between 50 to 70 percent for a normal healthy heart. LVEF value will be much lower in an unhealthy heart or a weaker heart as heart can not pump enough blood required by the body organs.
The best way to measure LVEF is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. But patients seldom use this procedure as it is very costly and low availability. Patients usually take echocardiography procedure instead of MRI scan. This procedure takes up to 45 minutes and needs a trained ultrasound professional.
Researchers from the Huntington Medical Research Institute (HMRI), University of Southern California and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new smartphone App to measure heart health of an individual with LVEF value. The new device or App can replace the current ultrasound procedure to monitor heart health.
The camera in the smartphone App measures the LVEF with the help of the skin movement in the neck area as blood flows through the carotid artery. Researchers have conducted trials with 72 people, aged between 20 to 92 years. Researchers have compared smartphone App LVEF reading with the LVEF reading of echocardiography machine. The results show reading with the new smartphone App was impressive with +/- 19 percent error margin, an accepted margin of error.
The researchers founded a startup called Avicena to market the smartphone App as soon as possible. Senior author of the study was Professor Mory Gharib, at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The study findings were published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Critical Care Medicine.
LVEF : How much oxygen-rich blood is being pumped out of heart's left ventricle to rest of the body with each contraction is called left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). The normal value of LVEF is 50 percent or higher. The ejection fraction (EF) shows the efficiency of the heart in pumping blood. Below normal EF value is a sign of a heart failure. Heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease may lead to low ejection fraction. Echocardiography machine uses non-invasive technique and shows ejection fraction (EF) of a person. LVEF value helps healthcare professionals in determining heart failure or other heart diseases in an individual. A low EF individual may not able to do exercise, having shortness of breath problems, legs may swell, mental confusion and may get fatigue & weakness.
Echocardiogram : An echocardiogram (also called as cardiac echo or echo) is a type of painless ultrasound test procedure used to create images of the heart of an individual. This report shows dimensions and shape of the heart, blood pumping capacity of the heart and details of heart tissue damage. The test uses ultrasound waves in producing heart images. It is used to diagnosis possible or known heart diseases, blood clots in the heart, ejection fraction (EF), heart relaxation function (diastolic function), amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute (cardiac output) and even to find heart defects in unborn babies.
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Published by Jammi Vasista, Chennai, India.