A NEAR wearable device is being used for patients at Worcestershire Royal Hospital to help detect those at risk of a stroke, diagnose Atrial Fibrillation, and improve waiting times for treatment.
The mobile adhesive electrocardiogram (ECG) patch, Zio XT, is worn by stroke patients for up to 14 days.
It records their heart rhythm to reveal potential causes of stroke.
The stroke team at Worcestershire Royal Hospital apply the small, lightweight patch to a patient’s chest. It reads and analyses their heart’s electrical activity using Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Unlike with previous devices, patients using the new Zio XT patch can go about their daily activities almost as normal.
They can exercise and shower and remove the device themselves without needing to return to hospital.
Stroke is the fourth highest cause of death in the UK, with Atrial Fibrillation contributing to one in five strokes.
It is more likely to cause greater disability or death than non-AF-related strokes. However, a third of those with AF don’t experience any symptoms, with many only aware they have the condition after a stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attack or ‘mini stroke’
The Zio XT patch can help identify Atrial Fibrillation more accurately by providing data faster and in greater detail.
This allows oral anticoagulant therapy treatment to begin sooner which can reduce the risk of stroke by two thirds.
More than 100 of the new devices have now been fitted at the Royal as part of a six-month trial.
David Gisbourne from Evesham was one of the first to have the device after his Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA).
He said: “It was very straightforward to put on and remove. It didn’t affect my sleep and really wasn’t inconvenient at all – most of the time I had completely forgotten I’d got it on.
“The stroke team were excellent with me and explained everything thoroughly. The care they have given me has been exemplary.”
After patients finish wearing the device, recordings are analysed using an AI algorithm and overseen by cardiographic technicians.
A full report is then supplied to the stroke team for final analysis and interpretation. This is usually within four days of patients finishing wearing the device.
Consultant and Stroke Services Clinical Lead, Dr Girish Muddegowda said: “We’ve fitted around 100 of these devices now which has significantly improved the experience for our patients.
“The device has an improved overall accuracy and helps reduce duplication of clinic appointments which makes it very cost effective.
“The time patients have to wait for investigation and treatment has also improved as a result of the new patches.”
Ward Manager of the Acute Stroke Unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Sanjula Dhungana added: “We’ve been using the new Zio device for stroke patients for a few months and it’s really helped us put patients first.
“When we fit these, patients are provided with a survey which helps us to improve the experience and outcomes.”
The feedback survey given to patients who have worn the ECG devices has seen an overwhelmingly positive response.
Patients reported they were able to go about their normal activity, saying the device was comfortable to wear.
Many said they would wear the patch again in future should they need to.