United Press International is reporting that an “inexpensive, real-time heart activity monitor may soon be available for patients to monitor their own condition, researchers in Latvia said.” So we went ahead, and checked out what the fuss is all about. Predictably, just like many other projects from Europe, the Heart Guard is a European project, code named EUREKA project E! 3489. Truth be told, EUREKA is an intergovernmental European initiative, that’s big on promises, but short on real output. The pages of Medgadget rarely see anything concrete from EUREKA in terms of medical technology.
Integris Ltd. from Riga, Latvia, the company behind the Heart Guard, explains the device’s workings:
The basic idea of the project was to develop a user-friendly miniature wireless ECG recording and transmitting device (WERTD), and real-time ECG analysis and warning system (AWS), based on ordinary PCs or Pocket PCs for a patient’s individual use.
Disturbances of heart function can be monitored and analysed with special software.
This new device is user friendly, it works at least 24 hours without the need to recharge batteries and allows patient to roam up to 30m from AWS (for example at home or hospital).
In the proposed system, the monitoring of three orthogonal Frank ECG leads is possible, as the conversion of these to conventional 12 ECG leads. It provides an opportunity for carrying out a more detailed analysis of ischemic changes in the heart as well as rhythm analysis.
Intelligent monitoring software contains ECG signal pre-processing, and events on ECG recognition and measurement parts. The recognised cardiac cycles will be analysed with two programmes. The first programme carries out the detection of conduction disturbances and ischemic ECG changes, which take place during various syndromes of coronary heart disease, such as stable angina pectoris, unstable angina pectoris and myocardial infarction. The second programme will be used for detection and analysis of rhythm disorders and unstable conduction disturbances.
Project page: Heart Guard…
Project brochure (.pdf) at EUREKA…
Eureka: Early warning system for cardiac patients…