When a heart attack strikes, it can seemingly come out of nowhere. And if you have chronic heart failure, being able to predict the next attack not only can be life-saving but empowering too.
Chronolife, a health tech company based in France, is hoping to help those who are diagnosed with chronic or congestive heart failure (CHF) to anticipate potential medical emergencies with its Chronolife vest. The vest claims to measure six key physiological stats in real time, and combined with machine learning, it hopes to predict the likelihood of an oncoming heart attack. Its estimated retail price is €200 (about $228, £180 and AU$320 converted) and Chronolife plans to sell it to researchers, insurance companies and healthcare providers.
More than 5.7 million adults in the US have CHF according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and treating the condition involves US $30.7 billion in healthcare costs. Those who have diabetes or high blood pressure are at risk of developing CHF, and about half who are diagnosed die within five years of diagnosis. Chronolife believes that being able to predict and prevent an attack with a subtle and comfortable device would improve the quality of life for individuals.
Made out of cotton and Lycra, machine washable and meant to be worn daily, Chronolife contains embedded sensors that keep tabs on things like the electrical activity of your heart, breathing, body temperature and general physical activity (including sudden movements like falling). This data is accessible to the user through an app, as well as healthcare providers who can look out for any troubling signs.
The vest doesn’t require internet connection as it keeps tabs on your body, and its data will be saved in a secure cloud service. It doesn’t require any charging and its sensors don’t need to be removed in the wash.
Chronolife the company hopes to receive CE marking in March for the European market and FDA approval for the US this summer. Keep in mind that because it hasn’t gotten approval from neither organization yet, and the fact that we weren’t able to see a live demo for ourselves, it’s best to take Chronolife’s claims with a grain of salt. Regardless, it’s also developing other preventive devices and clothing to predict sudden infant death syndrome, seizures caused by epilepsy and medical conditions related to sleep apnea.
The Chronolife vest is a great design to empower those with heart problems. Many blood pressure or heart activity trackers on the market currently focus on detecting irregularities which would result in a trip to the doctor and possibly a diagnosis. The Chronolife vest is different though because its technology is important in predicting when a heart failure may occur. For those with congestive heart failure, treatment is typically centered around changing lifestyle habits and monitoring blood pressure more closely. However, when there is a serious risk of a heart attack and someone is not monitoring heart activity 24/7, those fears of the unknown can be anxiety inducing. Wearing the Chronolife vest provides comfort and confidence for the user. It decreases the fear of the unknown.
I included this article because I found the idea of empowering those with heart conditions very interesting and worth researching more. Although wearing a vest all day may not be a viable solution for all, it brings to light the importance of mental health in those who suffer from irregular heart activity.