Mike Leidig
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319
Wed, 05.02.2003
pte20030205024 Health/Medicine, Science/Technology
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Heart diagnosis via SMS
Pilot study uses mobile phones to relay cardiovascular data

Vienna (pte024/05.02.2003/11:18) - A pilot project where patients suffering from high blood pressure and cardiac disease send blood pressure and heart rate data to their doctors using mobile phones and get almost instant advice back has been launched in Austria.

Doctors at Graz's University Medical School have joined forces with the Austrian Research Centre (ARC) and the mobile telephone company, Mobilkom Austria. The pilot study involved 25 patients.

Friedrich M. Fruwald, Professor of Cardiology at Graz, said that the study showed that monitoring chronically ill patients using mobile phones was both technically feasible and safe.

"The advantage is that doctors get information immediately. In the past, a patient with high blood pressure might go to the doctor every six months. It was only then that their doctor would see that blood pressure had been too high at certain times. Thanks to constant transfers of data by mobile phones, the doctor knows what is going on at once," Fruwald said.

Patients monitor key values, such as their blood pressure, pulse or bodyweight, on a regular basis at home.

They then enter the figures on a Wap or a GPRS mobile phone using special software developed by ARC. The software allows doctors to define the upper and lower limit of particular values for each patient.

The information is sent to an ARC server in Graz and the hospital accesses the data using a normal PC with an internet connection.

"We were able, for example, to monitor patients who were suffering from heart problems when they took beta blockers. We could observe whether the weight was stable and their heart rate went down," Fruwald said.

The monitoring unit also warns doctors to intervene if a patient's values are too high or low. Doctors are notified by a text messages or an email.

"Doctors then call the patients at home, check whether the data is correct and then prescribe medication," Fruwald said.

Patients who forget to monitor their values are also alerted by a text message.

Professor Fruwald is planning another study in spring to help track the progress of diabetes patients using mobile phones.

Submitter: pressetext.europe
Contact: Mike Leidig
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319