Lifesaving cardiac monitor technology unveiled at International Workshop on Personal Health Management Systems

Londonderry 16 December 2004A revolutionary Personal Health Status Monitor for early detection of life threatening cardiac rhythms is just one of the exciting new medical devices set to revolutionise health care on show at the Personalised Health Workshop in Belfast. In recognition of their expertise in the areas of e-health and sensor technology, researchers at the University of Ulster have been asked by the Information Society Directorate-General for eHealth at the European Commission to organise the Second International Workshop on Personal Health Management Systems. The event, "Personalised Health: The integration of innovative Sensing, Textile, Information and Communication Technologies", was held on December 13, 14 and 15, 2004.

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University of Ulster scientist Dr. Eric McAdams stated: "Here in Ireland, heart problems are the worst in Europe, and each year, over 500.000 sudden deaths occur in the United States due to cardiac arrhythmias. Survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest rise from less than 10 percent in public, to over 70 percent if witnessed within an acute care setting. The chances of surviving a life threatening arrhythmia diminish substantially if the heart is not returned to normal rhythm within 4-6 minutes."

"Current means for early detection and notification of a severe cardiac arrhythmia is limited by current costly medical instruments found in high intensity acute care settings. Those patients at risk in lower intensity hospital settings, or in the home have no means for surveillance monitoring of a life threatening event", Dr. McAdams continued.

Now, leading United States company Welch Allyn, with the help of technology developed by University of spin-out company, Sensor Technology and Devices, has developed a cost-effective, easy to use, highly sensitive personal status ECG.

The device's body-worn sensors wirelessly communicate the health status of the patient to the appropriate centre in the hospital, clinic or home, leaving the patient free to walk about and lead a normal life. The product provides continuous surveillance of the patient and enables the early detection of life threatening cardiac events.

Dermot O'Doherty, Senior Policy Adviser, at the sponsors InterTradeIreland, stated: "IntertradeIreland regard this emerging technology as important in creating opportunities to build on research being carried out in the Universities on the island and in developing the fast-growing, high added value medical devices sector. We are especially excited about the prospects for integration of sensor technologies into textiles, a sector moving rapidly to change its traditional image."


Leslie Versweyveld

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