Think of the heart as the body’s engine, pumping dutifully to keep us alive. Yet various events, illness and lifestyle factors can all impact the heart’s health, leading to heart disease or heart failure. Fortunately for us, we’re living in an Age of Technology, where wearable gadgets can help protect our cardiovascular health.
A Defibrillator With Sensors
People living with heart failure often wear a defibrillator, a battery-powered device designed to deliver an electric shock to re-start the heart if it stops beating. And some scientists believe that by retrofitting these defibrillators with sensors, doctors will be able to detect a heart failure event before it begins.
This potentially life-saving measure can be made possible through software attached to the defibrillator that tracks a person’s heart rate, respiration, heart sounds and activity in the chest. A study monitored these conditions in nine hundred heart failure patients over the course of a year, and the sensors were able to successfully detect heart failure events more than 70 percent of the time, allowing doctors to stage necessary medical interventions. Further studies are scheduled for this technology before it may become available for general use.
A Smart Bra
Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and engineers are developing new ways to help support cardiovascular health. Alicia Chong, an MIT graduate student and electrical engineer, has designed a smart bra that uses washable sensors to monitor a woman’s heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs. These measurements are then sent to a smartphone app, and the data can also be shared with a doctor. The app can be programmed, according to a doctor’s medical recommendations, to send notifications about physical activity and other heart-healthy reminders.