DEC 21, 2017 10:24 AM PST

Heart Health App Could Help Patients Live Longer

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

A new app was inspired by medical professionals who wanted a better system for detecting advanced heart failure in their patients. From the Intermountain Medical Center, scientists introduce their new “clinical decision support application” (app) that helps heart failure patients and their doctors know when it’s time to revisit their treatment options.

A clinical decision support application that more quickly identifies when heart failure becomes advanced and a heart patient's care needs have changed is successful in helping to improve patient's quality of live and longevity. Credit: Intermountain Medical Center

Why is this app necessary?

"Heart failure is progressive, and when it becomes advanced, standard therapies are no longer adequate and quality of life plummets," explained lead author R. Scott Evans, MS, PhD. "The sooner advanced heart failure is diagnosed and patients begin to receive advanced, specialized treatment, the better they tend to do."

The new app resolves the issue of heart failure patients being monitored on a less-than-daily basis. It also takes into account that accurately diagnosing a person’s condition takes more than one test and that it’s difficult for medical professionals to stay up to date on the latest heart failure research.

“Clinical decision support can facilitate the early identification of patients needing advanced heart failure therapy,” the study authors wrote. “Its use was associated with significantly more patients visiting specialized heart facilities and longer survival.”

How does the app work?

Heart failure experts worked with technology experts to design three algorithms based on various expert criteria for advanced heart failure. Indications of advanced heart failure, such as echocardiograms with a left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) measurement of less than 35 percent, are filtered through these algorithms to identify cases of advanced heart failure. EF is a measure of how well your heart pumps blood with each heartbeat.

Although doctors cannot monitor each and every patient every day, the new app can.

When the app detects a potential case of advanced heart failure, the appropriate medical professionals are contacted and made aware. A message from the app is complete with recommended therapy options, other important information, and contact information for advanced heart failure specialists.

Evans and other are hopeful that the app will be successful at improving heart failure patients’ quality of life and longevity. In recent studies, the app successfully improved survival rates via detection of heart failure advancement.

The present study was published in Journal of Cardiac Failure.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Medical Center

About the Author
I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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