Breaking News
December 18, 2018 - Researchers identify link between mucus in the small airways and pulmonary fibrosis
December 18, 2018 - EU Commission’s Health Policy Platform to host EKHA program on transplantation
December 18, 2018 - Survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma have high risk of developing solid tumors
December 18, 2018 - Small changes to cafeteria design can get kids to eat healthier, new assessment tool finds
December 18, 2018 - From Machines to Cyclic Compounds
December 18, 2018 - New study reveals best assessment tools to establish delirium severity
December 18, 2018 - Rice University scientists develop synthetic protein switches to control electron flow
December 18, 2018 - Home-based pulmonary function monitoring for teens with Duchenne muscular dystrophy
December 18, 2018 - National Biofilms Innovation Centre award grant to Neem Biotech for novel anti-biofilm drug development
December 18, 2018 - Artificial intelligence and the future of medicine
December 18, 2018 - Montana State doctoral student receives grant for her work to improve neuroscience tool
December 18, 2018 - Early postpartum initiation of opioids associated with persistent use
December 18, 2018 - Russian scientists identify molecular ‘switch’ that could be target for treatment of allergic asthma
December 18, 2018 - Surgeons make more mistakes in the operating room during stressful moments, shows study
December 18, 2018 - Immune cells explode themselves to inform about the danger of invading bacteria
December 18, 2018 - Malnutrition in children with Crohn’s disease linked with increased risk of surgical complications
December 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Motegrity (prucalopride) for Adults with Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC)
December 18, 2018 - The long and short of CDK12
December 18, 2018 - Hologic’s Cynosure division introduces TempSure Surgical RF technology in North America
December 18, 2018 - CMR Surgical partners with Nicholson Center to launch U.S.-based training program for Versius
December 18, 2018 - Findings reinforce guidelines for cautious use of antipsychotics in younger populations
December 18, 2018 - Study finds new strains of hepatitis C virus in sub-Saharan Africa
December 18, 2018 - New battery-free, implantable device aids weight loss
December 18, 2018 - Parental alcohol use disorder associated with offspring marital outcomes
December 18, 2018 - Novel Breast Imaging Technique Might Cut Unnecessary Biopsies
December 18, 2018 - What can a snowflake teach us about how cancer spreads in the body?
December 18, 2018 - Management of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy costs the NHS more than previously thought
December 18, 2018 - Green leafy vegetables may reduce risk of developing liver steatosis
December 18, 2018 - Veganism linked to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition if not planned correctly
December 18, 2018 - Coming Soon: A Tiny Robot You Swallow to Help You Stay Healthy
December 18, 2018 - Modified malaria drug proven effective at inhibiting Ebola
December 18, 2018 - Study finds epigenetic differences in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia
December 18, 2018 - Fitness instructors’ motivational comments influence women’s body satisfaction
December 18, 2018 - Study focuses on modification of lipid nanoparticles for successful brain cell targeting
December 18, 2018 - New gut bacteria may be effective against obesity, metabolic and mental disorders
December 18, 2018 - New two-in-one powder aerosol to upgrade fight against deadly superbugs in lungs
December 18, 2018 - Biofilms feed with swirling flows
December 17, 2018 - Study identifies specific neurological changes related to traumatic brain injury
December 17, 2018 - New study confirms geographic bias in lung allocation for transplant
December 17, 2018 - Research focuses on optimization of solid lipid nanoparticle that encapsulates Vinorelbine bitartrate
December 17, 2018 - Carpal tunnel syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
December 17, 2018 - A novel insulin accelerant
December 17, 2018 - Tips for caring for patients with disabilities, from a mother and physician
December 17, 2018 - Menopause-related sexual, urinary problems tied to worse quality of life
December 17, 2018 - In-school nutrition programs among students limit increases in BMI, finds study
December 17, 2018 - Risk for Hospitalization for Heart Failure Greater With Diabetes
December 17, 2018 - Food assistance may help older adults adhere to diabetes meds
December 17, 2018 - Supporting a family’s goals during a difficult pregnancy
December 17, 2018 - Neurons with Good Housekeeping Are Protected from Alzheimer’s
December 17, 2018 - New approach to tumor analysis could improve prognosis for bowel cancer patients
December 17, 2018 - New ‘epigenetics-based’ cervical cancer test outperforms Pap smear and HPV tests
December 17, 2018 - Ten year follow-up after negative colonoscopy related to reduced risk of colorectal cancer
December 17, 2018 - CTF along with NTAP and Sage announce first-ever open data portal for neurofibromatosis
December 17, 2018 - Intimacy: The Elusive Fountain of Youth?
December 17, 2018 - Will saliva translate to a real diagnostic tool?
December 17, 2018 - DFG establishes nine new Research Units and one new Clinical Research Unit
December 17, 2018 - Assisted living’s breakneck growth leaves patient safety behind
December 17, 2018 - America’s teens report dramatic increase in their use of vaping devices in just one year
December 17, 2018 - Enlarged heart linked to a higher risk of dementia
December 17, 2018 - Prostate cancer detection using MRI now first-line investigation tool
December 17, 2018 - Loughborough academics part of new project investigating effectiveness of personalized breast cancer screening
December 17, 2018 - Adolescents who use cognitive reappraisal had better metabolic measures, shows study
December 17, 2018 - Probiotics may offer therapeutic benefits for biopolar patients
December 17, 2018 - Stealth BioTherapeutics Granted Fast Track Designation for Elamipretide for the Treatment of Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration with Geographic Atrophy
December 17, 2018 - Studies reveal role of red meat in gut bacteria, heart disease development
December 17, 2018 - Eisai enters into agreement with Eurofarma for its anti-obesity agent lorcaserin
December 17, 2018 - Researchers use brain connectome to reassess neuroimaging findings of Alzheimer’s disease
December 17, 2018 - “Miracle” baby survives Ebola in Congo and rapid a new Ebola detection device
December 17, 2018 - Mechanisms behind neonatal diabetes uncovered
December 17, 2018 - AHF urges the WHO to expedite approval process for vaccine effective against Ebola
December 17, 2018 - Study finds misuse of benzodiazepines to be highest among young adults
December 17, 2018 - TGen receives PayPal grant to underwrite costs of genetic tests for children with rare disorders
December 17, 2018 - New research highlights why HIV-infected patients suffer higher rates of cancer
December 17, 2018 - Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could soon be targeted with Alzheimer’s drug
December 17, 2018 - Rutgers scientists take an important step in making diseased hearts heal themselves
December 17, 2018 - Tailored Feedback at CRC Screen Improves Lifestyle Behaviors
December 17, 2018 - Loss of two genes drives a deadly form of colorectal cancer, reveals a potential treatment
December 17, 2018 - How the Mediterranean Diet Can Help Women’s Hearts
December 17, 2018 - Sustained connections associated with symptoms of autism
December 17, 2018 - Concussion rates among young football players were higher than previously reported
Biodesign fellows simplify heart rhythm monitoring

Biodesign fellows simplify heart rhythm monitoring

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

When I was a cardiology fellow, I spent time at San Francisco General Hospital. As the main county hospital in the city, it’s “real” medicine on the front lines, with patients from all socioeconomic strata and many with limited English language skills. While I was there I saw some of these patients being prescribed a Holter monitor, a portable recording device with wires and electrodes you attach to your skin, to diagnose suspected cardiac arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems).

Arrhythmias are tricky – they can come and go, and they can be harmless or extremely dangerous. So it’s important to diagnose them accurately and efficiently. But Holter monitors are archaic. They’re complicated to use, and have to be returned to the hospital. The technology really didn’t work very well for this population, which meant that many patients didn’t get monitored.

Later, as a Biodesign Innovation Fellow, I saw this problem again. This time, we were dealing with generally more well-to-do patients. But the Holter monitor, which can’t be worn during exercise or showering, was still a suboptimal solution. That’s when it became  clear that finding a better way to detect potential rhythm disturbances in non-hospitalized patients was a broad and important need.

As my team and I developed our solution, we were encouraged to design the highest tech product possible. Wireless technologies with real-time data transmission capabilities were becoming more feasible and some advisors urged us to incorporate this technology into our solution. But the experience I had with patients at the county hospital led us to make different decisions. For example, if we had built in real-time data transmission at that time, the product would have been too expensive to use on most patients. Instead, we designed the device to store the diagnostic data locally and then the patient could use the postal service to return it to us – everyone knows how to drop something in the mailbox. In addition, we intentionally opted not to make the interface too complicated or add too many features. Otherwise, people who are older or compromised in some way might not be comfortable wearing the device.

In the end, we came up with a solution that’s inexpensive and simple enough that it doesn’t have to be prescribed by a specialist, and it can be given to patients in the emergency room or at their primary care physician’s office. As a result, the technology has helped hundreds of thousands of patients over the past few years.

We’re currently adding wireless capabilities to some versions of the product to address the much smaller population of high-risk patients who need real-time data transmission. But this makes sense now because it can be done more cost-effectively, and it can be limited to those who need this feature. Just because you can make something more technologically advanced, doesn’t always mean you should. It’s more important to focus on the patients you’re trying to help and solve their problem in the most cost-effective way possible.

To date, medical devices and technologies initiated by Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign trainees while in the program’s courses and fellowships have been used to care for more than 1.5 million patients. In this new weekly series, some of our innovators will discuss their work and the patients that inspired them

Uday Kumar, MD, was a 2005-06 Biodesign Innovation Fellow. 

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles