Smartphone ECG could be used in A&E to detect serious heart conditions

May 14, 2019

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: March 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: A smartphone-based ECG recorder is five times more effective at diagnosing heart rhythm problems than standard tests, according to new research. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian carried out the first randomised control trial of the device, the AliveCor® KardiaMobile, in 243 people presenting with heart palpations or near blackout at 15 Emergency Departments across the UK. The device enabled doctors to diagnose the cause of the palpitations in over 40 per cent more patients than standard tests alone.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


New 20 minute test diagnoses hidden heart condition

October 19, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: October 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: New tests can diagnose ‘hidden’ heart diseases – such as microvascular angina – caused by problems with the small blood vessels supplying the heart, according to research funded by us and presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference today in San Diego. The new tests are not yet standard in the NHS because, before now, there has not been enough evidence gathered about whether they would benefit patients. Now, researchers say that they should be routinely available to pinpoint the cause of chest pain.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:   British Heart Foundation


Testing oxygen levels of newborn babies helps find serious heart defects

September 21, 2018

Source: National Institute for Health Research

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Date of publication: July 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Measuring oxygen levels in newborn babies as part of routine care can identify cases of critical congenital heart defects sooner than waiting until symptoms appear. If 10,000 babies were screened, pulse oximetry could correctly identify about 5 of the 6 expected asymptomatic cases and might miss one. This international research suggests there would be about 14 false alarms. Waiting until babies are at least 24 hours old minimises the number of these false positives.

Babies with critical heart defects often show no symptoms at birth. Early detection of these problems increases the chance of successful treatment. This systematic review looked at 21 studies of 457,202 babies where pulse oximetry (measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood using a device put on the hand or foot) was used as a simple screening test.

Pulse oximetry correctly identifies 76.3% of babies who have critical congenital heart defects. It also correctly identifies 99.9% of healthy babies without problems.

Current UK newborn screening programmes do not include pulse oximetry because a national pilot scheme suggested there would be higher false positive results in routine NHS practice.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: National Institute for Health Research


Heart attack blood test sensitive enough to be used in portable device

July 20, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: June 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: A new blood test being developed to diagnose heart attacks could one day be carried out on a simple handheld device, giving a rapid diagnosis in A&E departments without the need for samples to be sent to a lab, according to new research presented today at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Heart attack blood test sensitive enough to be used in portable device

June 15, 2018

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: June 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: A new blood test being developed to diagnose heart attacks could one day be carried out on a simple handheld device, giving a rapid diagnosis in A&E departments without the need for samples to be sent to a lab, according to new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Standard medical tests miss nearly two-thirds of heart attack diagnoses

February 22, 2018

Source: Science Daily

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Date of publication: February 2018

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: ‘Unrecognized’ and ‘recognized’ heart attacks have the same long-term risk of death.  Unrecognised heart attacks (myocardial infarction; MI) refer to sub-clinical events that are missed in routine medical care but are picked up by electrocardiogram (ECG) or by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, which is more accurate.2

“Unrecognised MI has a poor short-term prognosis but until now the long-term outlook was unknown,” said lead author Dr Tushar Acharya, a cardiologist at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, US. “This study investigated long-term outcomes.”

Length of publication: 1 webpage

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Acknowledgement: Science Daily


Breakthrough blood test to improve diagnosis of heart attacks

April 24, 2017

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: April 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Researchers have developed a new blood test to diagnose heart attacks, thanks to BHF-funding. The study found that the new test is more sensitive and quicker in detecting heart damage than the current troponin test.

Using donated human heart muscle tissue, the team found that a protein called cardiac myosin-binding protein C was even more sensitive and better at detecting damage to the heart caused by a heart attack than the widely used troponin test.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:  British Heart Foundation