About this project
The problem we solve: Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice. Patients with this disorder are at increased risk for, stroke, heart failure, thromboembolic events and death. Its incidence and prevalence is increasing. It is a costly disorder as well as patients with atrial fibrillation are often admitted to the hospital.
While A fib may be symptomatic, in up to 15 % of patients it is asymptomatic. This is important because these asymptomatic patients are at increased risk as noted above. Afib is often found incidentally on an ECG done for other reasons. It is impractical to do ECGs on all patients, so a low cost, effective reliable A Fib screening device can help reduce the number of undiagnosed Afib patients seen in a primary care office. About our solution: Our device is a low cost, accurate, safe device that can diagnose Afib accurately at the point of care. Progress to date: We have done background information about Afib and brainstormed possible design solutions. We have come up with a prototype and have tested this and have obtained IRB approval for widespread testing in primary care.
About Our Team
Dr. Philip Bain, MD Internal Medicine, Practicing Physician Location: Madison, Wisconsin Medical school: University of WI Medical School Bio: Practicing physician, Division Chief of IM at Dean Clinic. I have worked with BME students at the University of WI for the past 6 years on a variety of projects
Practice: Dean Health System Hospital Affiliation: St., Mary's Hospital Title: MD Twitter:N/A LinkedIn:N/A
The population is aging rapidly. Afib increases in incidence and prevalence with increased age. For example in 1 study, the prevalence of Afib in patients over 80 years of age was 9%. ( Europ Heart J2006;27:949) It is a costly disorder as well. Direct costs to Medicare for Afib related strokes in the first after stroke have been estimated to be $2.6 Billion. The use of well controlled warfarin ( the most common intervention once Afib is diagnosed) could prevent 19,000 strokes and save more than $1.1 Billion in direct costs annually. (Economic Burden of Atrial Fibrillation-Ajpb.com). Our device could diagnose a significant number of at risk patients who might otherwise suffer a disabling life altering ischemic stroke or other disabling medical conditions such as heart failure or thromboembolic events.
How We Help Education
The idea for this device was submitted by a practicing internist, Dr. Philip Bain. Biomedical Engineering students from the University of WI School of Engineering ( some of whom are pre medical students) chose this project as their capstone project. They worked on the project for 4 semesters and moved it to the point of IRB sponsored beta testing. This process is a great example of how clinical medicine combined with engineering can foster creative solutions to vexing problems.
How We Help Physicians
Primary care physicians need fast, accurate, low cost ways to screen for important disorders- especially if the disorder is often undiagnosed until it presents in a catastrophic way such as an ischemic stroke. Our device could easily be used by rooming staff while they are taking the patient's blood pressure.We would like to think that heart rhythm could become the fifth ( and arguably the most important) vital sign.
Mission: The USA is in crisis with regard to health care spending. We need low cost, effective ways to diagnose common conditions that if undiagnosed could result in significant preventable costs. Use of funds: We would use this money to test, patent and manufacture these devices for more widespread testing and use. Intellectual Property Status: We have begun discussions regarding patent protection with WARF- WI Alumni Research Foundation. FDA Status: To be investigated Personal Message: I have worked with 5 UW BME students on this project for 2 years. They have learned a lot about many aspects of the project. It was truly enjoyable to see creativity flourish and result in a life saving device that could very well become the standard of care in primary care offices.I need someone to help me shepard this idea to clinical use. As with many student projects, time is of the essence as the students graduate and move forward int heir careers.
Philip Bain, MD
University of WI Medical School