The efficacy of a smartphone ECG application for cardiac screening in an unselected island population

Br J Cardiol 2015;22:31–3doi:10.5837/bjc.2015.009 1 Comment
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Cardiac screening in the community is limited by time, resources and cost. We evaluated the efficacy of a novel smartphone application to provide a rapid electrocardiogram (ECG) screening method on the Island of Jersey, population 98,000.

Members of the general public were invited to attend a free heart screening event, held over three days, in the foyer of Jersey General Hospital. Participants filled out dedicated questionnaires, had their blood pressure checked and an ECG recorded using the AliveCor (CA, USA) device attached to an Apple (CA, USA) iPhone 4 or 5. 

There were 989 participants aged 12–99 years evaluated: 954 were screened with the ECG application. There were 54 (5.6%) people noted to have a potential abnormality, including suspected conduction defects, increased voltages or a rhythm abnormality requiring further evaluation with a 12-lead ECG. Of these, 23 (43%) were abnormal with two confirming atrial fibrillation and two showing atrial flutter. Other abnormalities detected included atrial and ventricular ectopy, bundle branch block and ST-segment abnormalities. In addition, increased voltages meeting criteria for left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) on 12-lead ECG were detected in four patients leading to one diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

In conclusion, this novel ECG application was quick and easy to use and led to the new diagnoses of arrhythmia, bundle branch block, LVH and cardiomyopathy in 23 (2.4%) of the total patients screened. Due to its highly portable nature and ease of use, this application could be used as a rapid screening tool for cardiovascular abnormalities in the community.

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