Wearable and Personal Heart Health Monitors
Hot Cardiology Topics to Watch in 2015 Dave Fornell, editor of DAIC Magazine As editor of DAIC, I keep a close watch on trends in cardiovascular technology and try to predict what the next big advancements will be in the coming years. Here are my predictions for technologies to watch in the coming year that have the potential to fundamentally change the practice of cardiology: 1. CT-FFR — One technology that is sure to turn heads is computed tomography-fractional flow reserve (CT-FFR), which just gained approval at the end of November. This supercomputing software uses data from a cardiac CT scan to noninvasively assess the FFR measurements for all vessel segments in the coronary tree for patients presenting with chest pain. This includes cumulative distal FFR measurements for segments with numerous or long diffuse lesions. It can pin-point locations of culprit prior to a catheterization and possibly eliminate the need for invasive diagnostic angiograms. The FDA approved the technology after reviewing trials showing close correlation with invasive catheter-based FFR. The technology also enables virtual stenting to show the projected FFR hemodynamic impact. This technology may be a key game changer in how chest pain patients are evaluated and may help significantly cut costs for assessing them in the emergency department. 4. Wearable and Personal Heart Health Monitors —The traditional Holter monitor to diagnose patients may rapidly be overtaken with the proliferation of new, inexpensive cardiac monitoring devices. New, small FDA-cleared Holters now use an adhesive backing that sticks to a patient’s chest for home use; wireless monitoring without the need for leads or wearing a clunky device on the belt. Consumer-grade monitors and apps now allow ECGs with atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmia detection to be performed on a smartphone and to be sent to a patient’s doctor from anywhere. These types of technologies will aid in patient engagement and increase the amount of data physicians have available to make a more accurate diagnosis and monitor a patient's ongoing health.