A young female patient over 20 years ago with a severe heart condition underwent one of the first procedures at UCSF to restore normal heart rhythms called AV node ablation, which modifies the electrical pathway that connects the top chambers of the heart to its bottom chambers. At that time, a pacemaker was implanted into her chest.
For years, she had to fly several times a year from her New York home to California for checkups with the medical team at UCSF that performed the procedure to correct her heart rhythms when she was young.
Today, the patient is enrolled in an UCSF-developed online cardiovascular study “Health eHeart Study” that harnesses the power of mobile technology to monitor patients using their smartphones. This makes it possible for the information to go immediately to their doctors and then the patient can obtain instant feedback. The study funded by the Salesforce.com Foundation aims to enroll one million people from around the world.
According to Jeffrey Olgin, MD Chief of the UCSF Division of Cardiology, hopefully more patients will be able to be diagnosed and treated more rapidly than is currently possible since we are working with a large patient population connected electronically through smartphones.
The apps and certain study-related devices are given free to participants. Olgin and his team plan to analyze the data to identify patterns. This will allow them to not only identify population-based predictors but to also identify deviations from baselines.
“We hope to collect copious amounts of data on a large segment of the population so that we can develop very robust and accurate models to predict the occurrence of heart disease in people who don’t yet have heart disease. We hope to slow the progression in people who don’t yet have heart disease, or to slow the progression in people who already have heart disease”, said Olgin.