How AI is Revolutionizing Heart Rhythm Monitoring. Contactless

This is what I found. What does this mean, how does it work?

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

To me, artificial intelligence is somewhat of a mystery. I don’t reallyunderstand it. I’ve heard how it’s going to change the world and how “robots” are going to do everything.

By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.”

— Eliezer Yudkowsky

The idea that a machine is going to be smarter than me is a little bit intimidating, but on the other hand, I think my smart TV is definitely smarter than me.

Even Elon Musk has warned that artificial intelligence is dangerous if not managed correctly.

“The least scary future I can think of is one where we have at least democratized AI…[also] when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there would be no death. It would live forever. And then you’d have an immortal dictator from which we can never escape.” — Elon Musk

So to some extent, it sounds like the machines are going to take us over. Doom and gloom.

“Mark my words, AI is far more dangerous than nukes…why do we have no regulatory oversight?” — Elon Musk

So AI sounds dangerous and as if they can “eliminate” us.

But just before that, they are going to help us stay healthy.

I know that they are going to be smarter than us, but are we going to manage them to manage us?. That is the plan.

Enter contactless monitoring of your heart rhythm. This can now be done with smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

I’ve had heart issues all my life and I welcome any technology that can help me cope with my Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB). Detection is one of the key factors to start the journey to recovery or treatment.

Heart Rate vs Heart Rhythm

In my own words. Heart rate is how fast or slow your heartbeats. So it can be 60 beats per minute, which means one beat per second. You then have a regular heart rhythm.

On the other hand, if you have an irregular heart rhythm you can still have a heartbeat of 60, but the heartbeats are irregular. That means 2 a second then none the next second and so on.

Types of irregular heartbeats (Arrhythmia)

This may include but is not limited to this list:

Atrial Flutter

Atrial Fibrillation

Sick sinus syndrome

Ventricular tachycardia

Supraventricular tachycardia

Many heart arrhythmias are harmless, but some can be fatal or have many complications. If a heart rhythm is highly irregular it can be very serious and will in most cases make you weak, dizzy, or worse.

AI to the rescue!

Researchers have developed a new skill for a smart speaker. It is contactless monitoring of heart rhythm. It can now monitor regular and irregular heartbeats without physical contact.

I imagine a world in which AI is going to make us work more productively, live longer, and have cleaner energy. -Fei-Fei Li, Computer Science Professor at Stanford

Researchers tested this prototype smart speaker on a group of 50 participants. Of the group 26 were healthy and 24 hospitalized with a diversity of cardiac conditions.

This groundbreaking research was done at The University of Washington.

For now, the system is set up to do spot checks. When a person is concerned about their heartbeat they can sit in front of the speaker and get a “report” to tell them if they are in or out of rhythm.

The researchers hope to modify the current version so that it can monitor you while you sleep. This will also help doctors identify sleep apnea.

The capability of this device means that a patient can be monitored for an extended period of time. This will define specific patterns related to the patient. Patient-specific information will help to create a care plan for every patient.

Another way technology is helping to identify irregular heart rhythms is the Apple Watch. Here is my article about it.

Current situation.

Currently, a holter is used to monitor a patient’s heart rhythm. It is a wearable heart monitor that gives a report of the patient’s heartbeat and rhythm. The holter is worn in a sling over the shoulder and electrodes are “glued” to your chest. I have worn a holter and it is not very comfortable. The holter can also only be used as long as the battery lasts.

Did I mention that it is uncomfortable and cumbersome?

The future?

One of the researchers Dr. Arun Sridhar said

“This is the future of cardiology. And the beauty of using these kinds of devices is that they are already in people’s homes.”

I am no Doctor or health professional and am only speaking out of my own experience and research. Please ask your own doctor, caregiver, or health professional to give you patient specific information or care.

But do ask as many questions as you can.

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