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Implantable device warns patients of heart attack

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An implantable medical device that alert patients of an impending heart attack could soon be approved by the FDA.

Researchers are testing an implantable device that warns patients of an impending heart attack to save time and hopefully lives.

AngelMed Guardian is a self-monitoring device that alerts patients when there are changes in their heart function such as a decrease in oxygen or blood flow.

The device is made up of two part. A machine similar to a pacemaker is implanted in the chest and connected to the heart. The machine transmits data to a pager that a patient wears on a belt. If an abnormality is detected, the beeper alerts the patient and instructs them on what to do.

For example the pager will beep yellow if it detects a non life-threatening abnormality such as a heart arrhythmia. The yellow light indicates that the patient should see a doctor within 48 hours. But if the light flashes red, the patient should immediately go to the emergency room.

Another benefit of the AngelMed Guardian is that it has a combination of alert modes and will beep and vibrate to ensure the patient gets every notification.

Carol Day and Christopher Young from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society studied the benefits of AngelMed Guardian. Day says the system is beneficial to patients because it is implantable and can not be accidentally left behind anywhere. And research showed that patients found the system of beeps and vibrations to be very user-friendly.

"If the Guardian is approved for sale by the FDA," says Day, "it might be extended in ways that will change the way the patient interacts with the system as a whole. This would require more research and simulated-use studies to refine and validate the new interactions between the patient and the system."

Implantable Medical Device is Designed to Warn Patients of Impending Heart Attack  [HFES News]

Photo via AngelMed

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Amy Kraft

Weekend Editor

Contributing Editor Amy Kraft is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for New Scientist and DNAinfo and has produced podcasts for Scientific American's 60-Second-Science. She holds degrees from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure