How Big Data Could Help Prevent Fatal Heart Attacks
To celebrate World Heart Day, which was on Sept. 29, today I will join the American Heart Association Conference, AHA Health Tech & Innovation Forum to discuss how emerging technologies can transform and create healthy communities.
According to the American Heart Association, approximately 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 40 seconds. In fact, cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease combined. Even more alarming is the fact that about 92.1 million American adults are living with either some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of a stroke. The direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease and stroke are reported to total more than $316 billion, which includes loss of work and the healthcare costs associated with stroke and cardiovascular disease.
One of the contributing factors to these staggeringly high and alarming statistics has been the inability to monitor heart rhythms of patients with cardiovascular disease until they arrive at an emergency room by ambulance. Of course there are also cases where, unfortunately, the patient had already died of an acute stroke or heart attack.
Electrocardiographs or 12 lead ECGs are used every day to capture cardiac activity and they produce a graphic record of the heart’s electrical potential. Results from this can be plotted against the time a patient spends either in hospital or at the doctor’s office. This electrical display of human heart activity is used to diagnose and assist in treating heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias. However, this is not a very foolproof way to test if the person has had a heart attack or not, and the results are often not accurate.