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Original Research

Feasibility of Using Mobile ECG Recording Technology to Detect Atrial Fibrillation in Low-Resource Settings

Authors:

Grahame F. Evans,

Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE), Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, US
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Arianna Shirk,

Emergency Pediatrics Clinic, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe, KE
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Peter Muturi,

Outpatient Internal Medicine Clinic, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kijabe, KE
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Elsayed Z. Soliman

Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center (EPICARE), Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, US
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Abstract

Background: Screening for atrial fibrillation (AF), a major risk factor for stroke that is on the rise in Africa, is becoming increasingly critical.

Objectives: This study sought to examine the feasibility of using mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) recording technology to detect AF.

Methods: In this prospective observational study, we used a mobile ECG recorder to screen 50 African adults (66% women; mean age 54.3 ± 20.5 years) attending Kijabe Hospital (Kijabe, Kenya). Five hospital health providers involved in this study’s data collection process also completed a selfadministered survey to obtain information on their access to the Internet and mobile devices, both factors necessary to implement ECG mobile technology. Outcome measures included feasibility (completion of the study and recruitment of the patients on the planned study time frame) and the yield of the screening by the mobile ECG technology (ability to detect previously undiagnosed AF).

Results: Patients were recruited in a 2-week period as planned; only 1 of the 51 patients approached refused to participate (98% acceptance rate). All of the 50 patients who agreed to participate completed the test and produced readable ECGs (100% study completion rate). ECG tracings of 4 of the 50 patients who completed the study showed AF (8% AF yield), and none had been previously diagnosed with AF. When asked about continuous access to Internet and personal mobile devices, almost all of the health care providers surveyed answered affirmatively.

Conclusions: Using mobile ECG technology in screening for AF in low-resource settings is feasible, and can detect a significant proportion of AF cases that will otherwise go undiagnosed. Further study is needed to examine the cost-effectiveness of this approach for detection of AF and its effect on reducing the risk of stroke in developing countries.

Highlights

  • Screening for atrial fibrillation (AF) is becoming increasingly critical in developing countries.
  • We sought to examine the feasibility of using mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) recording technology to detect AF in Kenya.
  • We used the Kardia Mobile ECG (AliveCor, Mountain View, California) to screen 50 African adults attending Kijabe Hospital (Kijabe, Kenya) and conducted a self-administered questionnaire on hospital health providers to obtain information on their access to the Internet and mobile devices.
  • We showed that mobile ECG technology use in screening for AF in low-resource settings is feasible, and can detect a significant proportion of AF cases that will otherwise go undiagnosed.
How to Cite: Evans GF, Shirk A, Muturi P, Soliman EZ. Feasibility of Using Mobile ECG Recording Technology to Detect Atrial Fibrillation in Low-Resource Settings. Global Heart. 2017;12(4):285–9. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gheart.2016.12.003
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Published on 01 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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