The same Fitbit you wear to count your steps may soon have an additional purpose: it could detect atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat which could cause a stroke if not properly treated. Yet, it often goes unnoticed by a person experiencing it.
According to this story in Time, Fitbit is developing software which would enable its existing trackers to detect afib, and thus allow time for appropriate action before it is too late.
This technology could be of great benefit to heart patients. Not only does the Fitbit encourage you to exercise, it might just save your life!
According to new research presented at last week’s meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society, aspirin is not effective in preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, and in some instances may actually do more harm than good.
Note that previous studies have demonstrated that aspirin is not effective in preventing strokes from Afib.
In fact, the study, led by Dr. Jared Bunch from Intermountain Healthcare system, Salt Lake City, UT, found that patients who were prescribed aspirin following catheter ablation procedures to treat atrial fibrillation were significantly more likely to suffer gastrointestinal or genitourinary bleeding than those who took other anticoagulants like warfarin, or those who received no treatment at all.
For more, see these articles from Medical News Today and Science Times (with link to video).
A recent article published in Heart looked at the safety and effectiveness of catheter ablation for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation in patients with HCM by performing a systematic review of prior publications on the subject.
The researchers concluded that even though the success rate for HCM patients was approximately half that of patients who suffered from AFib but did not have HCM, catheter ablation is still an effective treatment for HCM patients; especially for those HCM patients who suffer from paroxysmal AFib and who have smaller atria.
A recent retrospective study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology found that atrial fibrillation (AF) occurred for the first time in 16 of 30 patients (53%) of patients with implantable devices being followed at the center conducting the study.
Of the patients experiencing AF for the first time, 14 of 16 (88%) of the patients were not aware of having experienced any clinical symptoms. As patients age, AF appears to be a common consequence of HCM. Patients may be caught unaware and unprepared, so monitoring is especially important.