Heart failure remains all too common throughout the U.S. and abroad. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure, and around half of these individuals will die within five years of the initial diagnosis.
This is because the early stages of heart failure often go unnoticed during routine physical exams. Providers may be unable to detect potential warning signs, such as heart murmurs and atrial fibrillation, or “AFib.”
Digital health company Eko has unveiled a new piece of technology that can help care providers screen for and detect heart failure during routine physicals. The new device uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve the heart failure diagnosis process, so providers can detect cardiac failure and start treating their patients as early as possible.
Learn more about this groundbreaking piece of technology and how it could help improve the lives of your patients.
The Facts on Heart Failure
Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. As serious as this chronic condition can be, it does not mean the heart has stopped beating completely. The condition tends to be more prevalent throughout the South, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Risk factors for heart failure include:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common cause of heart disease and heart attacks
- High blood pressure
- Other conditions related to heart disease, such as valvular heart disease
- Diets containing excessive amounts of foods high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity
- Smoking tobacco
- Excessive alcohol intake
Heart failure and heart disease contributed to 1 out of every 8 deaths in the U.S. back in 2017. Treating and living with heart failure is also notoriously expensive. The condition cost the U.S. around $30.7 billion in 2012 alone, including the total cost of healthcare services, medicines to treat cardiac failure, and missed days of work.
Individuals at risk of heart failure may notice shortness of breath during routine activities, difficulty breathing when lying down, weight gain, swelling in the feet, ankles, or stomach, or a general feeling of fatigue.
Heart failure is considered a chronic condition and while there is no cure, medications, dietary changes, increased physical activity, heart transplants, and other surgeries can help improve a patient’s quality of life.
Patients at risk are encouraged to meet regularly with their healthcare providers, who will likely conduct additional tests to learn more about the nature of the problem. They may find that a patient’s heart has been weakened and the larger lower chambers can no longer pump as much blood as they once could.
Eko AI: Using Artificial Intelligence for Detecting Heart Failure During Routine Physicals
Healthcare providers routinely diagnose heart failure much later than they should, and they rarely conduct echocardiogram imaging tests during routine physicals. This means they may miss important symptoms and warning signs, such as heart murmurs and AFib.
There may be several reasons for this. Some patients may fail to report certain symptoms, such as shortness of breath and chronic fatigue, to their doctors. Other patients may not visit their physicians as often as they should. Healthcare providers may also lack the time and resources needed to conduct follow-up tests and exams on high-risk patients.
However, doctors can now use the Eko AI, an artificially-intelligent stethoscope, to detect unusual heart activity, including murmurs and AFib, during routine physical exams. The Eko AI digital stethoscope collects around 15 seconds of echocardiogram data. It then runs this data through an algorithm to detect symptoms that primary care providers might otherwise miss.
With an ECG-powered stethoscope, it’s almost like having a cardiologist in the room during every physical exam. Providers can quickly determine whether the patient is at risk for heart failure or disease and whether additional tests are needed.
During a clinical study, the Eko AI was able to detect AFib with 99% sensitivity and 97% specificity when analyzing the 1-lead ECG tracing built into the stethoscope. When it comes to detecting murmurs, Eko’s AI was able to identify heart murmurs with 87% sensitivity and 87% specificity, proving itself to be much more accurate than the average physician.
The Eko AI digital stethoscope could be a potential game-changer when it comes to diagnosing and treating heart failure. Providers can now determine whether their patients are at risk within just a few seconds, dramatically improving patients’ life expectancies and overall quality of life.
Visit the Eko website to learn more about this groundbreaking medical device. The Eko AI stethoscope is available now for purchase, so you can start screening your patients for heart failure with greater accuracy.
This post was sponsored by EKO Health.