21 February 2012
Each day, 1,000 persons in Europe suffer a stroke due to irregular heart rhythm, 17 of them in Sweden. Every case of stroke incurs SEK 500,000 in medical costs and leads to death or lifelong suffering for the patient.
With Zenicor-EKG, more than half of the strokes can be avoided.
Zenicor-EKG is the size of a mobile phone and easily goes into the pocket or handbag. The patient can register his or her ECG by simply putting two thumbs on the device and holding them there for 30 seconds. By pressing the send button the patient can transfer his or her ECG reading over the mobile network to a doctor who can check the result regardless of where the patient is.
Zenicor-EKG is already in use in 150 hospitals in Scandinavia and the first devices were recently delivered to Germany. Zenicor-EKG is used by two major groups.
Test with ECG screening
One of the groups consists of persons who are being screened for atrial fibrillation, which is common among older people and a major risk factor as regards stroke, if left untreated. A pilot study will be carried out in 2012 in cooperation with the Stockholm-based Swedish medical research and education centre Karolinska Institutet. For the study, a total of 13,000 persons, all 75 years of age, living in Stockholm and the province of Halland are invited to a screening. The participants can borrow a Zenicor-EKG device for use at home for a period of two weeks, during which they take their ECG reading according to a particular schedule. If the persons suffering from atrial fibrillation are identified and treated, an estimated SEK 100 million can be saved annually in Stockholm only.
If a full screening were to be introduced in Sweden for everyone over 70, the number of daily stroke cases is estimated to go down from 17 to 7, which, in turn, would cut medical costs by SEK 500 million annually. In addition, it would save lives and reduce human suffering.
Users in all age groups
The other major category using the Zenicor-EKG consists of people who are feeling some form of cardiac arrhythmia, for instance that the heart is suddenly racing. This category includes people of all ages, from young children to old-age pensioners. It often happens that when the patients reach the hospital their heart beats as normal. Therefore, they can borrow a measurement device from the emergency department and take it home and measure the ECG at exactly the right moment when they feel the symptoms.
In 90 per cent of the cases, the arrhythmia is quite harmless and probably caused by stress. The remaining ten per cent require some form of treatment to protect the person from complications such as stroke or heart failure, which also can lead to death. Compared to other methods, the Zenicor-EKG method is more accurate. It makes the correct diagnosis requiring treatment for five times more patients. This means that less people will suffer complications, which will save money for the public medical service, save lives and reduce anxiety.
Zenicor-EKG is easy to use, which is an essential prerequisite, as it is used by both children and the elderly. Many of those suffereing from cardiac arrhythmia are businessmen and businesswomen who travel a lot. It makes no difference where they are, they can use the ECG measuring device all over the world – as long as they are within the coverage area of the mobile network.
Below is an interview with the Zenicor CEO.