Identification of atrial fibrillation through mobile ECG technology

What is the problem?

Strokes are a major cause of death and disability in the UK. Up to a third of strokes are caused by blood clots that form as a result of an irregular heartbeat, particularly atrial fibrillation (AF). These AF-related strokes also tend to be more serious, and have greater impact on patients’ lives than non-AF strokes.

In patients with known AF, anticoagulants can be used to significantly reduce the risk of a stoke occurring. The diagnosis of AF is therefore a key step towards preventing strokes.

According to available evidence, what is the suggested solution?


Mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) technology can be used for fast screening in clinics. It has the capacity to improve rates of AF diagnosis and therefore prevent strokes.


One option for mobile ECG technology is the AliveCor device by Kardia. The Kardia app can be used with most smart phones or tablets (Apple or Android), allowing the user to capture a recording of their heart anytime, anywhere. Results are analysed on the spot, and their rhythm strip can be shared with a doctor for an instant diagnosis and storing in their electronic patient record. The European Society of Cardiology’s August 2016 AF guidance states that a rhythm strip is sufficient for diagnosis of AF.

You can find out more about AF and the AliveCor device by following the related links on the right.

Where can I find out more about implementation?

The Innovation and Technology Tarriff (ITT) included mobile ECG devices for detection of AF for 2017/18, and AHSNs managed the distribution in their locality.


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