iRhythm Technologies‘ Zio ECG patch won praises from NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins this week for its ability to aid in the detection of atrial fibrillation.
In an NIH Director blog post, Dr. Collins warned that while the dangers of atrial fibrillation are known, many individuals do not know they have atrial fibrillation and therefore cannot receive appropriate care.
While doctors mainly screen for AFib by checking pulse, Dr. Collins recommended new mobile health technologies for detecting AF, including iRhythm’s Zio patch.
Results from the mSToPS trial of the patch, which Dr. Collins referenced, indicated that the patches significantly aided in the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, with a rate of detection of 3.9% for those using the patch versus 0.9% for those diagnosed traditionally.
Patients who wore the patch were also more likely to start taking anticoagulant medications and visit their primary care doctors, according to the blog post.
“As impressively as this replaceable patch performed in improving AFib diagnosis, one of the things that makes the mSToPS trial especially noteworthy is that the entire study was conducted remotely without the researchers or participants ever meeting face to face. This direct-to-participant clinical study shows the great potential of these types of in-home studies to evaluate the coming wave of wearable health technologies that will monitor our well-being and alert us to the first signs of trouble ahead. Over the years, we’ve highlighted many of these ‘wearables,’ and their vast potential to diagnose illness earlier, keep tabs on air quality, or track brain activity while a person is in motion,” NIH Director Collins wrote in a post.
While Dr. Collins was supportive of its ability to help diagnose AF, he warned that long-term benefits of the patch in reducing incidence of stroke, ER visits and hospitalizations was still undetermined, and that a three-year follow up study has been launched to explore the long-term effects.