A new app designed to monitor symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is being evaluated as part of a University of Michigan study. Developed by U-M cardiologist Dr. Hamid Ghanbari, “miAfib” allows patients to more accurately communicate their atrial fibrillation symptoms in real time.
Tracking Afib sypmtoms
Atrial fibrillation is the most prevalent major arrhythmia in the United States. It can lead to an increased risk of stroke, congestive heart failure and overall mortality. What is much less certain, says Dr. Ghanbari, is the association between Afib symptoms, affect and heart rhythm on a daily basis.
A key reason an Afib patient’s heart rhythm and heart rate are often difficult to tie to his or her symptoms is due to the current method of patient assessment. According to Dr. Ghanbari, “Symptoms associated with Afib are typically conveyed during an appointment with a doctor. However, this provides only a ‘static’ snapshot of the disease and doesn’t consider the daily variability of symptoms and their relationship to heart rate and heart rhythm.”
The static snapshot also doesn’t always take into consideration psychological factors, which can vary throughout the day and often cannot be recalled during a doctor visit. Was the patient angry or upset at the time of symptoms? Can the patient recall the exact symptom and how he or she was feeling weeks later?
Focus on precision medicine
The miAfib app is being used in a first-of-its-kind study at U-M to evaluate daily symptoms in Afib patients such as shortness of breath, fatigue level and chest pain. Using the mobile application, participants in the study will be able to more accurately measure and report their symptoms, enabling doctors to develop a targeted, individualized treatment plan.
The study represents the beginning of a larger program at the University of Michigan aimed at creating virtual practice units that can bring precision medicine to all types of chronic diseases. “The ultimate goal is to create a customized treatment plan for every patient,” says Dr. Ghanbari.
Take the next step:
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.