February 2017 - Techindia

Month: February 2017

Optical Heart Rate Monitoring: Everything You Need to Know

Are you into keeping fit and want to ensure you know your heart rate when you are in the thick of your workout exercising away at the gym? You may even be jogging on your normal every-day route or climbing up a mountain just for the sheer thrill of it. While you’re doing these things you want to keep track of how your heart is functioning? Solution: get yourself a heart rate monitor.

There are many types of heart rate monitors on the market, so which type of heart rate monitor should you buy? Let’s briefly check out Optical Heart Rate Monitoring (OHRM) and see what you should know about these.

A heart rate monitor is much more advanced as compared to a basic step counter that just counts the number of steps you take, accuracy may not be that crucial in this case. A OHRM device on the other hand, tells you how hard your heart works, when you are at rest or physically exerting yourself. You want to get very accurate results here.

How Does Optical Heart Rate Monitoring Work?
Have you heard of a method called photo plethysmography (PPG) to measure heart rate? Well! Most wearable ORHM devices use this method that shines light into our skin and measures the amount of light that our blood flow scatters when our heart rate and blood flow volume changes.

History of PPG:
Though PPG is more than 150 years old, it has been revolutionized in these modern times. In a dark room, people would hold their hand up to a candle to check blood flow and blood vessel structure. Two alternating LEDs were used in the first pulse oximeters in hospitals during the early 1980’s to measure blood oxygen and pulse rate. You still see these used in the finger or ear clip devices used in healthcare facilities, today.

Relevant developments within the last decade have concentrated on motion-tolerant PPG as motion and activity creates a lot of internal noise that needs to be eliminated from the equation to find the blood flow signal.

Relevant Technology:
The four technical components used by PPG to measure heart rate are:

  • Optical Emitter – this is a component that emits light into our skin using a couple of LED’s.
  • Digital Signal Processor (DSP) – this component captures the refracted light from the device user and translates those signals into data reflecting heart rates.
  • Accelerometer – this measures motion and combined with the DSP signal is input into motion-tolerant PPG algorithms.
  • Algorithms – the algorithms process the DSP and accelerometer signals into data that quantifies heart rate, calories burned, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels.


Once you get the motion tolerant PPG reading right, then some of the biometrics you can derive are:

  • Breathing rate
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Heart rate variability
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiac efficiency
  • VO2 Max (maximum volume of oxygen)

Various Forms of OHRM Devices:
Today in the market you can easily find a variety of wearable OHRM devices of all shapes and sizes, including, but not limited to:

  • Wrist bands
  • Smart watches
  • Leg bands
  • Audio earbuds

OHRM devices today are almost ubiquitous and every fitness minded individual has some form of OHRM device with them. Whether it is in your lifestyle for personal health or in active workout sessions in the gym, jogging up a mountain slope or running down a track, every person concerned with fitness tends to do optical heart rate monitoring in some form or the other.

Five Paradigm-Shift Cardiovascular Technologies to Watch in 2017

If you are suffering from an abnormal heart rhythm issue or AF (atrial fibrillation) and general heart failure (HF), take heart (pun intended!), as the latest innovations in implants for cardiovascular diseases are being created on the medical frontier, and they may shake up the world of patient care in cardiology. New materials and new technologies are contributing to a paradigm shift in cardiovascular technologies to watch for in 2017.

HeartMate 3:

One of the cardiovascular technologies to watch for is the Heartmate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device or LVAD implant. It has already exceeded the 50,000 mark. More than a million HF patients are possible candidates for this device implant in the US alone.

This LVAD has the capacity to pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute. During a 2- year long trial, the HeartMate 3 showed a 92% rate of 6-month survival for HF patients.

HVAD Pump:

The HVAD leads the world in Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) that is implantable into patients. The HVAD Pump has been approved by the appropriate food and drug authorities in the European Union (2009), Australia (2011), and the USA (2012). To date, more than 11,000 final-stage HF patients have received a second chance at life because of this pump.

The pump facilitates complete assistance in ventricular blood circulation once it is implanted. Surgery is minimal invasion due to its smaller pump circuitry as compared to the competing implant rivals available. The pump design provides ample path for circulation, reducing the chance of an event of hemolysis anemia due to the premature breakdown of red blood cells in the patient.


AF is when a heart beats either too fast, too slow, or very irregularly and research has discovered that 20% of patients with AF suffer strokes. Warfarin, an anticoagulant is widely used to reduce the risk of blood clot formation that typically happens in the left atrial appendage (LAA).

Now patients have a choice to go off continuous warfarin intake, by undergoing a one-time medical implant procedure to implant the Watchman LAA device. This device has been implanted in more than 10,000 patients worldwide and has been approved for commercial use in more than 70 countries, today.

Parachute Implant:

Another of the cardiovascular technologies to watch out for that is still under investigation today.

For HF patients, the left ventricle keeps remodeling due to continued heart failure. This implant separates the damaged part of the left ventricle from the functioning part by compensating for the remodeling and as a result, the efficiency of the heart’s ability to pump blood improves.


In AF patients, the Cardialen system restores the heart’s natural rhythm by constantly monitoring the heartbeat. If the pacemaker device detects an AF it emits electrical impulses of low-energy that the patient hardly feels, to correct the rhythm of the heartbeat.

The patient can switch the device on and off at will, without fear of it malfunctioning and the positive factor of this device is that it is implanted through a low-cost and minimally invasive process. One of the economic and revolutionary cardiovascular technologies to watch out for.


The success of these cardiovascular technologies to watch out for and the 5 implant devices will be apparent when data from clinical outcomes are published. At this stage the data is still being collected but these advancements give cardiac doctors and patients something to look forward to for better care and control of heart problems.

Remote Care Management Infographic

One of the most exciting innovations in medical technology is remote care management. In essence, the tools it utilizes make it possible for patients to not only attain intensive care but also ensure that any possible complications would be promptly mitigated and addressed. As for how such advanced care is made possible, majority of it rests on the gadgets that have been developed for the said purpose.

From mobile devices that focus solely on healthcare to mobile apps that help patients and doctors alike keep track of vital signs, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that medical technology has, indeed, evolved and is still continuing to evolve greatly and rapidly with the passage of time. Majority of them focus on alleviating symptoms of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, as many of them allow users to track heart rate, blood pressure, body weight, blood sugar, and even act as a mobile ECG.

Every data that is gathered by such devices are normally stored in a cloud, for easy access by both the patient and physician. That being said, remote management is not only a benefit that should be optional. Instead, it should be considered as a necessity by most patients, especially those who are already suffering from serious diseases and require consistent observation of one’s vitals.

If you’re interested in knowing more about what remote care management is and the systematic processes involved in it, then don’t hesitate to read the rundown we’ve prepared for it which is in the form of an infographic. It should sufficiently provide you with all the preliminary information you may need.

remote care management


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