The HeartCare platform uses the Internet of Things and deep learning, which is a subset of machine learning, to identify and monitor atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition that causes irregular and often fast heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation accounts for 20 per cent of ischaemic strokes, which are strokes caused by blood clots in arteries leading to the brain. AF symptoms include heart palpitations, dizziness and shortness of breath.
The platform’s deep learning algorithm detects atrial fibrillation with an accuracy of 98 per cent through unrestricted observation. In a recent clinical validation study, 1,513,709 patient heart beats were captured with measurement equipment from Shefield Hallam’s industry partner Isansys Lifecare Ltd at Sheffield Teaching Hospital.
Unlike the conventional methods of monitoring for atrial fibrillation, the HeartCare platform does not limit the number of patients who can be observed at any one time or the duration of observations. Patients can track their heart rate through smart phone-linked sensors, and the real time diagnosis support can lead to early medical interventions which are less invasive.
Dr Ningrong Lei, project lead and senior lecturer in systems engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I believe that the atrial fibrillation detection service will offer safe, reliable and cheaper healthcare for the patients in need. Healthcare professionals and industrial partners have recognised that the atrial fibrillation monitoring service has great commercial potential, and realising this potential is likely to have high impact and value as it enables real-time detection anywhere. I am passionate to translate this big data-enabled service innovation into a commercially successful medical device which benefits wider society through stroke prevention.”
The platform allows for a higher rate of atrial fibrillation detection through prolonged observation and better outcomes for patients as heart rate measurements can be taken continuously, with real-time compliance monitoring and improved safety through hybrid diagnosis, where clinicians verify automated machine decisions.
The HeartCare project, which has been funded by ICURe Innovate UK, aligns with Sheffield Hallam’s wider Civic University Agreement commitment to expand its research programme to create innovations that improve health outcomes for people in the region.
The project was previously awarded £45,000 of Proof of Market and Proof of Feasibility funding from Grow MedTech, which enabled the initial market access strategy and collaborations with clinical and potential commercial partners to be established.