Innovative mobile heart monitors rolled out in Bury to help prevent strokes

An innovative and potentially life-saving mobile heart monitor has been distributed to 30 GP practices in Bury.

The AliveCor Kardia mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) device quickly and easily detects Atrial Fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm and common contributing factor for stroke.

The portable, credit card-sized device uses a person’s fingertips to records the electrical activity of the heart and deliver a reading to a smartphone or tablet app.

It will allow more staff in more settings to quickly and easily conduct opportunistic pulse checks and indicate if a person possibly has atrial fibrillation. NHS staff will also be able to refer patients for follow up if they feel they could be at risk of stroke.

More than 4,800 people in Bury are thought to have AF with a third unaware they have irregular heart rhythms.

Early detection and monitoring can pave the way for better treatment for people with atrial fibrillation including access to highly effective treatments to prevent strokes.

As part of the Greater Manchester Healthy Hearts programme, Health Innovation Manchester provided NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group with 40 devices which are being deployed to local clinicians, practice nurses and practice-based pharmacists in Bury to assess how they can benefit primary care.

Speaking after the programme launch, Hakeel Qureshi, Project Manager at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “It was great to see so many active local practices attend the day and were eager to learn about the device and how it can support them increase detection rates, through opportunistic screening.

“We hope the devices become regularly used in various settings to detect atrial fibrillation and become a useful product in preventing strokes and saving lives.

“Health Innovation Manchester is committed to championing new innovations and medical technologies in order to make a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of people in Greater Manchester.”

Dr Jeff Schryer, Chair for NHS Bury CCG, said: “The long-term impacts of stroke can be devastating, which is why it is crucial to detect and monitor atrial fibrillation early. These devices allow clinicians to undertake a quick, mobile ECG test during a regular consultation. The patient simply applies two fingers on the sensors and within 30 seconds the clinician will receive an accurate and immediate reading of their heart rhythm.”

“Technology is enabling clinical advances in practices allowing for efficiencies that are beneficial to both our staff and patients. Patients can receive on the spot reassurance from a clinician where the reading is normal, or if there are any irregularities then early detection will enable those at high risk to receive further checks quicker.”

More than 23,000 people in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire thought to be unaware they have irregular heart rhythms.

Across Greater Manchester the project aims to identify more than 10,000 new cases of irregular heart rhythms over two years and support the prevention of 300 strokes.