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UB cardiologist to discuss benefits of heart monitoring by smartphone

By ELLEN GOLDBAUM

Published January 7, 2019

headshot of Anne Curtis
“Using heart monitors can help patients be more engaged in their health and allows them to work with their physicians to have the best outcomes.”
Anne B. Curtis, SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Charles and Mary Bauer Chair and Professor
Department of Medicine

Heart monitor apps designed to detect cardiac arrhythmias are proving beneficial for heart patients, according to UB cardiologist Anne B. Curtis, who will speak tomorrow at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

“Using heart monitors can help patients be more engaged in their health and allows them to work with their physicians to have the best outcomes,” says Curtis, SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Charles and Mary Bauer Chair and Professor of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB.

Curtis, who is also president and chief executive officer of UBMD Internal Medicine, is one of the world’s leading clinical cardiac electrophysiologists and an expert in cardiac arrhythmias. She has played a key role in developing national treatment guidelines for treating atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm disorder that, if untreated, puts patients at higher risk for stroke.

In 2017, Curtis conducted a study that found that the Kardia Mobile with the AliveCor smartphone app to diagnose palpitations resulted in better compliance among patients than the 14-to-30-day event monitors that have been standard of care for monitoring and detecting arrhythmias. And at the American Heart Association meeting last November, she presented data on a study conducted at nursing homes that found that 7.1 percent of patients with no previous history of AF were found to have it when their heart rhythms were checked with the Kardia Mobile.

Titled “Heart Tech’s Quantum Leap: How Will Physicians Manage the Data?” her talk at CES will focus on how best to make use of heart-monitoring data.

Curtis explains that when patients transmit data to her office, her nurse downloads and reviews the data first, followed by her own review and confirmation of the diagnosis reached by the nurse.

“Some patients go overboard and transmit repeatedly every day,” she says. “But that is almost never necessary.”

She adds that once an arrhythmia is captured on an electrocardiogram and a diagnosis is made, there is usually no need for additional heart monitoring.

In some patients, she notes, a heart monitor will not prove helpful. “For example, if you are in AF all the time, there is nothing to be gained by wearing a monitor,” she says.

“We recommend heart monitors for patients who are having palpitations so we can diagnose what the problem is,” Curtis says. “Sometimes it is atrial fibrillation, sometimes another type of arrhythmia. For patients already known to have AF, it could help detect recurrences.”

The panel she will address is sponsored by the Heart Rhythm Society, of which Curtis is a past president.