Liverpool John Moores University researchers fitted a device into the handles of shopping trolleys to monitor for atrial fibrillation (AF), a common heart arrhythmia related to an increased risk of stroke. This novel method allows people to monitor their cardiac rhythm while doing their normal grocery shopping, potentially saving lives.
How does it work?
When shoppers make contact with the metal electrodes implanted in the trolley handle, the cylindrical device, known as MyDiagnostick, records a single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) trace. While maintaining contact, its internal software analyzes the ECG for a minute, detecting any abnormal heartbeats associated with AF. MyDiagnostick’s unobtrusive design makes it a great tool for smoothly integrating health checks into daily routines.
MyDiagnostick: A revolutionary technology
Over 2,000 participants consented to use the modified trolleys and grip the handle for at least 60 seconds during the SHOPS-AF trial. A green light indicated a normal rhythm if no abnormal heartbeats were observed. Individuals with abnormal heartbeats, as indicated by a red light, were manually evaluated by an in-store pharmacist, who then used a separate heart monitoring device for additional assessment. Finally, the study found 39 people who were previously unaware of their atrial fibrillation, allowing them to obtain appropriate medical intervention and maybe avoid strokes.
Improving accuracy and accessibility
While MyDiagnostick detected AF with a sensitivity level exceeding 94 percent, the device had a higher number of false positives and false negatives. The researchers recognize the need to improve the algorithm’s accuracy through continual development. They also underline the necessity of having rapid access to healthcare specialists who can explain the findings, arrange for confirmation tests, and propose appropriate treatment.
The incorporation of health monitoring technologies into daily activities is altering how we care for our health. The inclusion of MyDiagnostick in shopping trolleys enables individuals to monitor their heart rhythm proactively, perhaps detecting atrial fibrillation and preventing future strokes. Although further progress is required to increase accuracy, the favorable response from customers illustrates the acceptability and potential benefit of this novel technique. We are getting closer to a world where health and convenience go hand in hand by effortlessly integrating healthcare into regular everyday life.
Source study: Journal of Personalized Medicine— Supermarket/hypermarket opportunistic screening for atrial fibrillation (SHOPS-AF): A mixed methods feasibility study protocol