Prevention and Risk Reduction in Heart Health

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Identifying early onset of cardiac disease is not easy and it is very expensive. For this reason the first symptom of cardiac problems is often catastrophic. It is the goal to produce a low cost screening device that effectively identifies the presence of the disease early which will allow the patients to take corrective action in lifestyle, behaviour changes diet and stress management in order to eliminate the need for surgical intervention and drug therapy. We will adopt a new focus – studying changes in previously unobserved symptoms in order to detect sign of heart disease early on. Our vision is to shift the focus of heart care from treatments to prevention. Based on our pilot data (more than 100 subjects tested), we adopt an external monitoring and screening using ballistocardiography and a new generation of electronic devices and computing techniques. Ballistocardiographs (BCGs) can non-invasively detect heart issues before they have manifested on a noticeable scale. Ballistocardiography is the study of the motion of the body with each heartbeat. Movements are thought to arise from myocardial contraction and the ejection and movement of blood from the heart to the periphery [1-3]. BCG waveforms are consistent for specific parts of the cardiac cycle [3]. The value of BCGs is that small changes in myocardial acceleration can be detected and such changes have been recognized as indicative in a number of cardiac abnormalities; most notably poor coronary perfusion. Due to the recent software and hardware advances it is possible to identify the onset of some types of heart disease with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity using BCG analysis. Diagnosis currently relies almost entirely on ECG, stress testing and imaging. While these tests are effective and used worldwide they are still expensive and have to be administered and interpreted by highly skilled medical practitioners. Our research follows 3 closely related themes: Technology Development – a new integrated micro-device has been developed and is in testing phase. Extensive pattern creation and analysis is performed and compared to clinical test data, ECG, and imaging (echosound) test results. Establishment of Normal and Abnormal BCG Ranges – In order to build a BCG signal classification algorithm, data from healthy normal individuals as well as those with heart conditions are collected from people of all ages and backgrounds. Lifestyle Improvement and Long-term Preventive Monitoring – Following the establishment of and classification of normal and abnormal signals it will be possible to identify at-risk individuals early on; track improvements in their cardiac health as they make lifestyle changes. Preliminary Results During our pilot study we have observed both normal and abnormal BCG signals (Fig. 1). We conducted the validation of a new proposed classification algorithm that is paired with a new micro-system incorporating BCG, processing and wireless communication modules. Our micro device can be used by unskilled individuals for quick assessment whether a person’s heart is displaying abnormal vibration behaviour.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 2
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 531 - 534
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topics: Biomaterials, Chemical, Physical & Bio-Sensors
ISBN: 1-4200-6183-6