Wearable Device Accurately Tracks Heart Failure Progression


Approximately half of patients with heart failure do not require an implantable monitoring device or do not qualify for thoracic monitoring.

A novel wearable device may improve the treatment of heart failure by performing real time continuous monitoring of the physiological parameters associated with heart failure, according to researchers from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science in collaboration with FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. Their research on the prototype device was published in Scientific Reports.

“Approximately 1 in 4 patients with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge from the hospital and about half are readmitted within 6 months,” said Mary Ann Leavitt, PhD, co-author and an assistant professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, in a press release. “Health care wearable devices such as the prototype we have developed have the potential to decrease hospital readmissions in a cost-effective way that also is safe and convenient for the wearer.”

The study authors said that the 2 heart failure monitoring systems currently available are high-cost and carry risks because they are surgically implanted subcutaneously. Further, approximately half of patients with heart failure do not require an implantable device or do not qualify for the thoracic monitoring done by these devices, according to the study.

The American Heart Association estimates that 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure, which they project to grow to 8 million by 2030, highlighting the significant need for non-invasive solutions for continuous monitoring of heart failure progression. The novel technology uses different sensors that are embedded in a lightweight belt worn around the waist to track thoracic impedance, electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, and motion activity.

The study authors said that thoracic impedance is a crucial bio-signal for tracking the progression of heart failure, whereas ECG can predict cardiovascular diseases. ECG measures electrical signals via a Holter monitor, which the investigators said is not suitable for point-of-care use.

The investigators evaluated the novel device in different conditions, such as sitting, standing, lying down, and walking, with results obtained for each of the sensors sequentially. The study authors noted that the physiological parameters they selected are significant in evaluating the symptoms of heart failure.

The study found that the sensors tracked changes across all the different conditions. For example, the position sensor correctly noted a change in positioning for the different conditions and could identify the different states of the person wearing the prototype device.

Further, the heart rate sensor continually tracked heart rate and the device correctly spotted minute changes in thoracic impedance, according to the investigators. Similar to other ECG monitors, the ECG sensor in the belt was highly sensitive to motion, such as walking.

“All of the sensors we integrated into our belt module can easily be worn for a long period of time without affecting the patient’s daily activities,” said study senior author Waseem Asghar, PhD, associate professor in FAU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in a press release. “Importantly, continuous and real-time monitoring of heart failure symptoms could alert patients and their health care providers of the patient’s declining health. In turn, health care providers could intervene with medications to avoid patient hospitalization.”

The researchers said that the device will have higher predictive values for heart failure with greater specificity and high sensitivity. They said they are currently evaluating the device on a diverse patient population to develop an algorithm that predicts heart failure over the test set.

“This wearable device to monitor heart failure is my main project in Dr. Asghar’s Micro and Nanotechnology Lab in Medicine, which has important social implications for the fastest-growing cardiovascular disease in the US,” said study first author Sheikh Muhammad Asher Iqbal, research assistant and PhD student in FAU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in a press release. “We are developing a noninvasive solution that can be used by all heart failure patients for better management, diagnosis and prognosis that will be able to serve the masses.”


Novel wearable belt with sensors accurately monitors heart failure 24/7. Florida Atlantic University. News release. Accessed January 10, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/974053

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