UR/RIT developing technology that could detect atrial fibrillation from your phone

Sep 18, 2017
Originally published on September 19, 2017 1:38 pm

With a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists from the University of Rochester & Rochester Institute of Technology are working to create an app that can alert doctors of the onset of atrial fibrillation or afib.

Afib is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure.

Jean-Phillippe Couderc is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UR, he says the technology developed uses the camera in your phone or tablet and scans the way your face changes when your heartbeats.

"There is actually very subtle blushing of your skin that we cannot see with naked eyes. But with this technology that we have developed we can enhance the changes of color in the skin and extract the pulse of the subject."

Couderc says the video system has been tested on a number of subjects with different skin complexions, and that that doesn’t affect the data collected.

With current methods of afib detection involving day long monitoring or surgical procedures, Gill Tsouri an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at RIT said it made the most sense to work with these ubiquitous devices.

"Think of all the time you spend watching a screen, usually there’s a camera watching right back at you. And we're taking advantage of that."

A clinical study of 300 people will test the technology over the next three years. Couderc says with at risk factors including those with diabetes, hypertension and obesity, an easier method of early afib detection is necessary.

Participants will also wear an ECG patch to compare data from the patch and the tablet to determine how accurate the technology is in detecting afib.