AliveCor has announced the online publication of study results of the SEARCH-AF study. The SEARCH-AF study conducted in Australia screened 1,000 patients over 65 years old for an abnormal heart rhythm, atrial fibrillation, in 10 community pharmacies in suburban Sydney, Australia. The AliveCor heart monitor was used to capture 30-60 second electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings and wirelessly transmit the recordings to study cardiologists.
This simple method of remote ECG capture enabled study cardiologists to identify patients at risk of stroke because of unknown atrial fibrillation, and flag them for additional evaluation. New atrial fibrillation was identified in 1.5% of the people screened, all at high risk of stroke. Most of the people with newly discovered atrial fibrillation had no symptoms, and may never have sought medical advice. This study highlights one application of mobile ECG technology that can help facilitate cost-effective preventative medical care. Additionally, the study found the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was just over $4,000 for an increase of one Quality Adjusted Life Year and just over $20,000 for preventing one stroke. If asymptomatic people with atrial fibrillation are detected in this way and given warfarin or other newer powerful blood thinners, the risk of stroke can potentially be reduced by two thirds, AliveCor reports.
“Feasibility and cost effectiveness of stroke prevention through community screening for atrial fibrillation using iPhone ECG in pharmacies” appears in the April 1 online issue of Thrombosis and Haemostasis and was led by Ben Freedman, professor of Cardiology, Concord Hospital Department of Cardiology and Anzac Research Institute, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Australia.
“Community screening using the AliveCor heart monitor in pharmacies has shown to be both feasible and cost effective in helping physicians identify people with atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm, which is responsible for a third of all strokes,” says lead study cardiologist, Ben Freedman. “In many cases atrial fibrillation is not known before a stroke, so screening for atrial fibrillation and treating with effective medications could make an impact on reducing the community burden of stroke.”
“We believe these findings have great significance for health providers and should become part of routine practice as this type of screening programme is a cost effective way to identify patients with asymptomatic atrial fibrillation; a condition that can lead to potentially life threatening complications,” says Euan Thomson, president and chief executive officer of AliveCor.