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Gizmorama - October 18, 2017

Good Morning,

Technology is constantly and consistently making breakthroughs in the medical community. Those with sleep apnea or atrial fibrillation, I have a pair of articles you should definitely read.

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

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*-- FDA approves implantable device to treat sleep apnea --*

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it has approved a new implantable device for patients with moderate to severe central sleep apnea.

The implantable device offers sleep apnea patients an alternative to continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, a mask connected to a motor that provides air through a tube to keep breathing airways open.

Sleep apnea causes individuals to have one or more pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, during sleep. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm to breathe, causing a person to stop breathing during sleep for 10 seconds or more before restarting again.

"This implantable device offers patients another treatment option for central sleep apnea," Dr. Tina Kiang, acting director of the Division of Anesthesiology, General Hospital, Respiratory, Infection Control, and Dental Devices in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a press release. "Patients should speak with their health care providers about the benefits and risks of this new treatment compared to other available treatments."

The FDA approved the Remede System, an implantable device that stimulates a nerve located in the chest to send signals to the diaphragm to stimulate breathing, offering another option for sleep apnea patients.

The system contains a battery pack surgically placed under the skin in the upper chest area and small, thin wires that are inserted into blood vessels in the chest near the phrenic nerve to stimulate breathing.

The FDA analyzed data from 141 patients with the reducing apnea hypopnea index, or AHI, and found that, with the system, the Remede System reduced AHI by 50 percent over a six-month period in 51 percent of patients. AHI was reduced by just 11 percent in patients without the implant.

*-- Smartphone apps launched to help atrial fibrillation patients --*

Researchers have developed new smartphone and tablet apps to help patients with atrial fibrillation and their doctors better manage their condition.

"Around two-thirds of people in Europe and the U.S. have a mobile device and use it as their main way of accessing online information," Dr. Dipak Kotecha, a clinician scientist in cardiovascular medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, said in a press release. "This presents a big opportunity to improve self management and shared decision making in atrial fibrillation."

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, with one in four middle-age adults in the United States and Europe will develop the disorder. Patients with atrial fibrillation are at increased risk of stroke and death.

The study, published today in EP Europace, showed how the My AF and AF Manager apps, designed by the European Society of Cardiology Guidelines Task Force on Atrial Fibrillation and the CATCH ME consortium, can be used to help improve patient outcomes.

The My AF app provides information about atrial fibrillation, related risk of stroke, treatment and methods for an improved lifestyle. The app allows patients to track symptoms and effects on quality of life that can be shared with doctors before a visit.

"The app aims to encourage active patient involvement in the management of their condition," Kotecha said. "There is evidence that patient education can improve self-care, adherence to therapy, and long-term outcomes."

AF Manager is an app designed for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals and imports information shared by the patient, allowing care providers to amend details and enter additional medical data.

The app also includes a Treatment Manager tool that suggests treatment options based on ESC guidelines, and allows for information to be sent back to the patient app to increase understanding and make it easier to comply with doctor instructions.

"Many studies have shown that when clinicians follow guideline recommendations, patients have better outcomes," Kotecha said. "All of the decision aids in AF Manager are based on ESC guidelines so we hope this will encourage guideline implementation. Patients will have the option to anonymously donate their data which will enable us to assess the guideline adherence rate."

The apps are free for iOS devices in Apple's App Store and for Android devices in the Google Play store.


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