ECG from home to 3D printed heart valve: How cardiac care is evolving in digital times

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World Heart Day: Amid the rising cases of cardiovascular diseases across the world with an estimated 17.9 million people succumbing to heart diseases in 2019, digital health and innovation is proving to be a life saviour for many. The technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are helping in the awareness, prevention and management of CVDs.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) can be termed as a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease to heart attacks and strokes are some of the CVDs that affect people.

“Poor eating habits, too much salt in the diet, not exercising, and using tobacco and alcohol can lead to some heart problems while congenital heart disease will be present by birth. Thus, once you notice the symptoms, you will have to seek prompt medical treatment. Now, the healthcare sector is evolving and there have been many innovations in cardiac care,” says Dr Narayan Gadkar, Consultant Cardiologist, Zen Multi speciality Hospital, Chembur.

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Cardiac care is benefitting from the new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that are saving the lives of patients in India. “The recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) can help in early detection and treatment of seriously ill patients, in enhancing outcomes and providing appropriate care,” says Dr Gadkar.

Dr Gadkar also opens up on how cardiac care is evolving in the digital times:

* Electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnosis using cloud technology and bluetooth- enabled cardiac devices can be beneficial in measuring various parameters and without physically visiting the clinic.

*The 3D printed heart valve  is touted to be the future of cardiac surgery, since it tackles the disadvantages or complications linked to currently available and widely used artificial heart valves.

*During the Covid pandemic, telemedicine has now become of prime importance, with patients opting for telephonic or video conferencing services. Only when a procedure is required on the basis of symptoms, a patient is called to the hospital for further treatment. Telemedicine is a vital tool that helped overcome the communication barrier between the doctors and the patients during pandemic.

*Heart FLow FFRct is used for visualizing heart disease as it allows physicians to better assess a patient’s arteries. It is used along with a CT scan to create a 3D image of the coronary arteries and measures the flow through the coronary arteries, which allows a proper representation of a patient’s anatomy. Then, a proper treatment plan is made for each patient that may include surgery, a stent, medicine, or lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise.

*Blockchain technology is becoming popular now. This technology will allow patients with CVDs to get access to life-saving treatments. These technologies can reduce morbidity and mortality rates in patients with heart problems.

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