An adhesive patch that houses wafer-thin electronics to monitor the pulse may help save wearers from one of the most common causes of sudden death, informs DailyMail.
The gadget is worn on the skin for 24 hours a day over two weeks and could save the lives of people who suffer from heart-rhythm problems that can cause blackouts, breathlessness, palpitations, stroke, and even sudden death.
The condition – arrhythmia – often goes undiagnosed and its effects can come on without warning.
More than two million people in the UK suffer from some kind of heart-rhythm problem. Up to now, diagnosis has relied on detecting an abnormal rhythm with an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine.
This uses electrodes attached to the skin connected to a machine that records electrical activity emitted by the pulse.
But rhythm problems may be transient, meaning that patients might have to be attached to an ECG for hours at a time in hospital, and often must attend repeated appointments before an episode is detected.
The new Zio patch enables patients’ heart rhythm to be recorded for a full two weeks, collecting detailed information about the heart’s behaviour. Fitting the patch requires only a single visit to a hospital, after which it is kept on even in the shower and during moderate exercise.
The device provides continuous monitoring and can help diagnose a range of arrhythmias, which are typically caused by faulty nerve impulses around the heart muscle, including supraventricular tachycardia – episodes of quickened resting heart rate – and Atrial Fibrillation.