Queensland University of Technology researchers wired together a mobile phone, a GPS receiver, and an ECG unit to create a device that can closely track a patient’s rehabilitation regiment. Specifically focused on post MI patients, the unit can remotely transfer ECG as well as the speed and walking incline data to a monitoring clinician.
“The program allows people who have been in hospital for a heart attack or heart surgery to undergo a six-week walking exercise rehabilitation program wherever it’s convenient, while having their heart signal, location and speed monitored in real time,” Dr Worringham said.
“We are trying this approach because 80 per cent of cardiac patients never complete recommended hospital outpatient rehabilitation programs, despite the fact that they cut recurrent heart attacks by 17%, substantially reduce deaths, prevent re-hospitalisation, and improve both function and quality of life.”
“It’s not because they don’t want to take part, it’s usually because they cannot get to the hospital’s program easily, because there simply isn’t one nearby, or because work or family commitments take priority.”
Dr Worringham said country singer and songwriter Alan McPherson was one of the first to trial the system.
“Mr McPherson was able to do his rehabilitation sessions while on tour from Queensland to Victoria knowing he was being properly monitored,” he said.
“Without the system he would have either had to cancel his tour, forego the rehab program, or take a chance and exercise with no monitoring or support.”
The Cardiomobile system works by the patient attaching to their chests a mini ECG (electrocardiogram or heart signal) monitor and wearing a cap with a lightweight GPS receiver, both connected to a mobile phone via Bluetooth.
“Patients phone in at the start of their scheduled session and then their heart signal, location, speed and gradient are monitored in real-time over the web by a qualified exercise scientist, who guides the patient’s program and checks their progress,” Dr Worringham said.
“If there is any problem with the heart signal we can immediately contact the patient, and consult with the cardiologist if needed.
QUT press release: Mini ECG gets heart attack rehab patients mobile …