Wearable devices deliver cardiac care beyond the hospital

March 2, 2020

Physicians at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai are heading into wearable devices for heart care. Also called digital therapeutics, wearable devices – like high-tech watches and pendants –can track the heart beats and overall cardiac health of patients with conditions such as congestive heart failure.

“We are equipping patients at high risk of heart attacks and heart failure with wearable devices to monitor them outside of the four walls of a hospital room, and instead, in the comfort of their own home,” said Raj Khandwalla, MD, director of Digital Therapeutics at the Smidt Heart Institute and principal investigator behind this research effort.

Data from sensors embedded in wearables are transmitted to a person’s smartphone or the physician's office and analyzed by artificial intelligence to provide physicians and patients recommendations to optimize their health.

“What makes digital therapeutics research more meaningful than just wearable devices is the ability for a wearable device to analyze data, and then, make treatment recommendations or even create a digital prescription,” said Khandwalla.”

Cedars-Sinai investigators finished one study using a digital necklace to monitor heart failure patients in their homes. Another ongoing study outfits patients with a wearable device worn around the arm. Data from this device is used to help guide cardiologists on the optimal dosage of medications for heart patients. The goal is to create an approved Food and Drug Administration approved digital platform to manage heart patients.

“We are using these personal health devices to supplement our own clinical observations,” said Yaron Elad, MD, vice clinical chief of the Smidt Heart Institute. “These studies also supplement, and further enhance, the patient experience outside of the hospital.”

Each device uniquely tracks various body functions like heart and respiratory rates. The necklace specifically measures cardiac output, stroke volume and fluid collection in the lungs, whereas the armband can measure, heart rate, respiratory rate and even the level of pain in people.

Khandwalla and Elad now are teaming up to develop a digital cardiology clinic to support further research in this emerging field.

“Our ultimate goal is to make healthcare as easy as shopping on Amazon,” said Khandwalla. “If we can start to understand how patients are doing outside the medical setting and how they're doing in their homes we can provide them with more effective health care.”

Cedars-Sinai has the story.