URMC, RIT developing app to detect heart disease

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) – A group of scientists are working to help change the lives of people who are at risk of heart disease. 

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Institute of Technology have teamed up to create a mobile app that can detect the onset of atrial fibrillation or afib. The app would run in the background of your tablet or phone and alert doctors of an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. 

It’s all done using the camera in your tablet or phone. With the help of a $2 million grant from the the National Institutes of Health, the team plans to jumpstart a clinical trial with 300 people to test the new technology.

“Potentially if you can catch these patients earlier, not only can you reduce the risk of stroke, but you can also potentially treat them earlier and prevent them from going on into what we call long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Burr Hall, associate professor of Cardiology at URMC, said. 

“So basically what we’re doing is detecting changes in color as blood is pumped in and out of your face by the heart.,” Gill Tsouiri, associate professor in the Department of Electrical & Microelectronic Engineering at RIT, said. “These are very subtle signals — with the right algorithms that we’ve developed over the years — can detect.”

More than 3 million Americans are affected by heart disease.

The app isn’t available just yet. Individuals interested in learning more about the study can call 585-275-2100.

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