Liverpool-China collaboration will publish landmark study into the implementation of ‘mHealth’ technologies in treating cardiovascular illness.

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The Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science, in partnership with Associate Professor Yutao Guo of the Chinese PLA Hospital in Beijing, China, is set to publish the results of a landmark study showing the evidence for app-based technologies aiding in the detection and treatment of the most common heart rhythm condition, atrial fibrillation.

Beginning in Summer 2018, the Centre - a partnership between University of Liverpool, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Trust, Liverpool John Moore’s University and Liverpool Health Partners – worked closely with the Chinese PLA Hospital Medical School in Beijing, and enrolled more than 3000 patients to take part in a 12 month trial assessing a range of novel approaches to monitoring a person’s health, potentially giving clinicians advanced warning of underlying symptoms in subjects with atrial fibrillation that could indicate risk of a cardiac complication.

Central to the study is the mobile health technologies being developed by leading global technology companies, with a focus on using wearable smart devices such as those from Huawei, Apple and Samsung, working in conjunction with a specially developed mobile app. These pieces of equipment and software can monitor a person’s vital signs with great detail and, most importantly for this study, 24 hours a day.

The clinical trial involved two groups of patients who have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition known as Atrial Fibrillation, one group using a wearable smart device in conjunction with an app, to track changes in their health over a 12 month period, and the other receiving existing methods of detection and treatment. The app continuously monitored and logged a variety of biometric points including heartrate, blood pressure, kidney function and red blood cell count. Patients also used the app to make note of medication they may be taking, as well as noting any health related incidents.

The specially designed app developed to accompany this trial, not only charted the patient’s biometrics, it afforded clinicians the ability to offer integrated care throughout the duration of the trial. Doctors were able to periodically assess the patient’s updated statistics and contact them through the app to offer advice via the ABC care pathway. The pathway, developed in part by the LCCS’ Professor Gregory Lip, is a set of guidance for patients and clinicians, which aims to promote a holistic approach to the management of atrial fibrillation, and ensure that the danger of atrial fibrillation related complication is minimised.

It is hoped that results of the study will show a benefit of utilising these wearable technologies to significantly improve the effectiveness of detection and treatment of Atrial Fibrillation and other cardiac illnesses.

Preliminary data were presented as a Late Breaking Science presentation at the European Society of Cardiology congress in September 2019, and the full results are due to be published in Spring 2020, with an updated story made available at that time.