GAME CHANGER: NEW SMART HEART MONITOR

 

Super excited to tell you about a new smart heart monitor you can use at home. It will help 28 million heart disease patients in the U.S. keep track of their heart.

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Keep track from the comfort of their home at any time. And it’s just been FDA approved.

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Meet Eko DUO.  The first handheld mobile, wireless, EHR-connected stethoscope, which connects to your smart phone.

It allows you to amplify, visualize and record crystal clear heart and lung sounds.

Imagine not needing to wait for your next followup appointment to transmit a concern to your physician. It works under the supervision or prescription from a physician.

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Eko Duo is set to help millions of heart disease patients who are often discharged with little more than an info packet and instructions to monitor their weight.

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Now patients can be sent home from the hospital with a direct link back to their physician, helping reduce readmissions and false alarms.

“The goal is to bring hospital-quality care to the home.”
Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder, Eko DUO

The device wirelessly pairs with Eko’s secure, HIPAA-compliant app, enabling remote monitoring and diagnosis by a clinician or specialist.

It works with the Eko app on any iPhone, iPad, Windows PC or Android device.

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Eko DUO can also be used by clinicians as an enhanced stethoscope for in-clinic cardiac screenings, enabling physicians to quickly diagnose and monitor patients.

Clinicians can use it bedside or remotely to quickly spot heart abnormalities including arrhythmias, heart murmurs, and valvular heart diseases.

I interviewed Ami Bhatt, M.D., a Cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of Outpatient Cardiology and the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and she believes Eko DUO will improve outcomes through early intervention.

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Dr. Bhatt says, “Cardiology programs are looking for ways to deliver hospital-quality healthcare at home.  The ability to capture digital heart sounds and an ECG expands our portfolio of mechanisms to remotely monitor the heart – and brings diagnosis and opportunities for early intervention even further upstream.” 

Heart disease can strike people of all ages.

I spoke with Stacy Bingham, a registered nurse from Oregon with 5 children, who knows this firsthand. She and her husband have no prior history of heart disease in their family, yet 3 of her 5 children end up needing heart transplants.

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When Stacy noticed her oldest child, Sierra acting tired with a loss of appetite for a few weeks, she never suspected the cause was an underlying heart condition.

“I noticed her face and eyes were swollen. She complained her stomach hurt.”

That’s when Stacy and her husband took her to a family practitioner.

“The doctor told us it’s probably a flu bug and sent us home. When her condition worsened she had an x-ray.”

X-ray results revealed Sierra’s heart was enlarged.  Dilated cardio myopathy. She later learned two of her other children also had heart problems.

“If they had not finally found Sierra’s heart condition, she may not have survived. We live in a really rural part of Eastern Oregon and we now have three kids with heart transplants that need to be monitored for life.”

Today, Stacy’s family takes nothing for granted, especially innovations that help.

“If this device can be used at home and we can rule out scary things and know when it’s not something we need to rush to a hospital for that would be wonderful.” –Stacy Bingham

James Young also knows how life can change in a heartbeat.

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Young was just 40-years-old when he first experienced symptoms of heart failure. Symptoms he ignored until they were severe and his sister insisted on it.

“I was coughing in mornings and throughout the day. I thought it was simply allergies. I vomited phlegm some mornings and still didn’t see a doctor.”

But the coughing became more painful. While shoveling, it stopped him in his tracks.

“I was outside shoveling snow when I turn behind me and  see a trail of blood.”

His sister noticed he didn’t look well and insisted he go see a physician.

“That’s when I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I was shocked.”

James felt anxiety, depression and uncertainty about his future at this time. Young believes Eko DUO will not only help alleviate false alarms and unnecessary hospital readmissions, but needless worrying as well.

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“Eko DUO would have given me assurance the doctor knew where I stood daily. If there were any issues outstanding needing to be addressed immediately. It gives the doctor an opportunity to respond expeditiously to those concerns.”

Today, James is doing great and is a national spokesperson and heart failure Ambassador for the American Heart Association.

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“I went from a 25% functioning heart to being an avid runner and cycler. I’ve taken on a new lease in life. As a community advocate I can help inspire others and give them hope.”

Ami Bhatt, M.D says that hope also translates to much needed continuous care rather than outpatient care.

“Robust toolkits for caring for patients in the community will hopefully lead to more appropriate healthcare utilization through continuous rather than episodic outpatient care.”

HERE’S HOW EKO WAS DEVELOPED:

Eko’s co-founder & CEO, Connor Landgraf, is also a heart disease patient.

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Connor navigated countless cardiology visits, screenings and referrals.

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In 2013, during his senior year as at the University of California at Berkeley, Connor attended a panel discussion at UC San Francisco on technological shortcomings facing modern medical practices.

One technical gap cardiologists claimed stood out beyond the rest: the stethoscope.

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So Conner and his co-founders welcomed the stethoscope, a two-century old tool, into the 21st-century.

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Photo: Connor and his co-founders, Jason Bellet and Tyler Crouch

 

The newly FDA approved Eko DUO brings that to the next level.
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To learn more about this remarkable 21st Century technology we love visit:  http://www.ekodevices.com

 

 

Factoids:

  • According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
    The American Heart Associations says the U.S. currently spends over $26 billion annually on heart failure hospitalization. 25% of heart failure patients are readmitted within 30 days — 50% are readmitted in 6 months with hospitals now being penalized for high readmission rates.
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  • Fact: 83% of parents experience anxiety surrounding their child’s referral to a pediatric cardiologist for an innocent murmur.
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  • Fact: Average cash price for an echocardiogram is $2,275 and even with insurance, patients can expect to pay 10 to 30% of this cost.
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  • Fact: For a pediatric subspecialist such as a pediatric cardiologist, patients must wait between 5 weeks and 3 months to get an appointment.
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  • Fact: Internal medicine residents misdiagnose more than 75% of cardiac events.
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  • Fact: 70% of all pediatric cardiac referrals for murmurs are unnecessary.
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  • Fact: Average PCP needs to coordinate care with 99 other physicians working across 53 practices.
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  • Fact: Only 50% of initial referrals are accompanied by information from the PCP.
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  • Fact: Patients in rural communities must travel an average of 56 miles to see a specialist.
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  • Fact: About 46.2 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties.

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Eko DUO.  A real game changer for heart patients worldwide.

http://www.ekodevices.com

 

Maria Dorfner is the founder of NewsMD. She has worked in Media for 38 years, beginning as an intern at NBC during college. She covered health for her college newspaper and covered The Ivy League Roundup. She has specialized in Medical/Health for 28 of those years. Her series on obesity won a Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting and she won a Media Recognition Award, Outstanding Leadership Award and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media Award. Her medical stories have aired on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, cable stations and O&O’s and affiliates.

She co-founded The Cleveland Clinic News Service, helped launch CNBC in 1989, helped launch MedPageToday and produced the weekly Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Report) airing weekly on every network. She is the recipient of a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association and an Advanced Writing Scholarship from Columbia University. In 1998, she produced “21st Century Medicine” on tissue regeneration and regenerating life for Discovery, developed original medical/health programming which aired nationally on CNBC.

She’s travelled extensively interviewing a Who’s Who in pioneering medicine.

The series she created in 1993 include Lifestyles & Longevity, Healthcare Consumers, Healthcare Practitioners and Healthy Living with Dr. Joyce Brothers. She went on to replace Brothers as Host of the series. She was also director of research for the political consulting firm of Ailes Communications, a small production company owned by Roger Ailes and his then wife, Norma. Ailes served as Senior Media Advisor to President Bush at the time and successfully developed TV pilots for national syndication. Ailes then became President of CNBC, before launching Fox News Channel.

In her spare time she enjoys reading and helping people.

She began her career as an intern on the Today Show in 1983. She is the author of Healthy Within, Health Heart & Humor in an Italian-American Kitchen and PRESSure.

This is her blog

Email: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com | @Maria_Dorfner on Twitter

French Weight Loss Drug Caused 1,300 Deaths

Can the Mediator Scandal lead to Justice for D...

According to AFP, Mediator, a drug licensed for use by diabetics that became widely prescribed in France as a slimming aid, “probably” caused at least 1,300 deaths before it was withdrawn, a study published on Thursday said.

Mahmoud Zureik of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), who co-led the probe, told AFP that around 3,100 people had required hospitalisation during the 33 years during which the drug was sold.

However, these figures could well be an “underestimate,” he said.

The study, appearing in the specialised journalPharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety, finetunes an estimate by Zureik in 2010 that the death toll from the scandal was between 1,000 and 2,000.

Mediator, known by its lab name as benfluorex, was initially licensed to reduce levels of fatty proteins called lipids, with the claim that it helped diabetics control their level of blood sugar.

But it also suppressed appetite, which meant it gained a secondary official use to help obese diabeticslose weight.

In fact, it was widely sold on prescription for non-diabetics wanting to slim.

In 2009, Mediator was pulled from the European market amid evidence that it damaged heart valves and caused pulmonary hypertension.

Its French manufacturer, Servier, is being probed on suspicion of dishonest practices and deception.

The new study is an extrapolation based on figures for deaths from faulty heart valves, although not from hypertension, among major users of the drug.

The main data comes from France’s national health insurance system, which said that 303,000 patients used Mediator in 2006.

According to Mediator, 145 million packets of Mediator were sold on the French market before the drug was pulled.

The Mediator case came to light after a scandal involving a similar type of anti-obesity drug, fenfluramine, in the late 1990s.

MORE WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICAL NEWS:

FDA warns against quick weight-loss programs using hormone

SARATOGA, Calif. —

Proponents of a hormone-based diet claim you can lose 10 pounds in three weeks with no exercise, but this unusual weight-loss program some swear by comes with serious government warnings.

For Sanjay Mohindra, tennis comes easy. But losing weight doesn’t.  With his 20-year high school reunion looming last summer, the then 230-pound Mohindra found a diet that finally worked for him.

“I was able to lose twenty-five pounds in three weeks and get under two hundred pounds. It got to a point where I didn’t even know what I was going to wear because I couldn’t fit into my suits,” said Mohindra.  He went on to lose an additional 15 pounds.  His parents were so impressed with his weight loss, they also signed up for the controversial plan.

“I started at 124 pounds. I’m at 109 pounds. Now, I don’t think I could have done this any other way,” said Nina Mohindra, Sanjay’s mother.

The way the family did it was the HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin diet.  HGC is a hormone produced by pregnant women. Under a doctor’s care, the diet required them to inject themselves daily with the hormone and follow a very strict diet of only 500 calories a day and not exercise.

“Not only did I not feel dizzy or weak, this is the best I have felt in my life,” said Raj Mohindra, Sanjay’s father.  He still checks his blood pressure, but is off his medication after losing 24 pounds.

The HCG diet is not new. It first surfaced in the 1950s. Today, it’s FDA approved for fertility treatments, not weight loss.  But the Mohindras’ doctor at a Saratoga anti-aging clinic is able to prescribe HCG as an off-label use. He has done so for roughly 500 patients.  He calls it a short-term jumpstart rather than a long-term solution.

“For the patients who follow our program correctly, 90-to-95 percent lose our target weight, which for women is 20 pounds in 6 weeks.  For men, it’s 25 pounds in 6 weeks,” said Dr. John Tang.

With a cost around $900, it can be successful for those willing to follow the detailed diet of only 500 calories a day. To give you an idea of what 500 calories is, that’s about a turkey sandwich with mayo and cheese. But on this diet, you can only eat from a strict list of proteins, fruits and veggies for two meals a day.

“I would say the mind is a very powerful thing. And I would say there’s a big placebo effect occuring here,” cautions Dr. John Morton of Stanford Hospital‘s Bariatric Surgery Department.  He stresses the impact and any long-term effects of HCG as a weight loss program have not been studied and says some of his clients have tried and failed.

“Lemon, cayenne, pepper, and maple syrup diets all the way to HCG.  I do think this appears to be a gimmick,” said Dr. Morton.

The FDA stresses there are no FDA-approved HCG products for weight loss.  In December, they started cracking down on companies illegally selling them over the counter. The FDA calls the low-calorie diet reckless and says eating so little is likely behind the weight loss.  Nutritionists warn it’s not a long-term solution.

“The minute you lose it and stop eating that way, you gain it back. In 99.99% of the cases, the individuals gained back even more weight than they lost,” said dietician Lillian Castillo.

But the Mohindra family says they have not gained the weight back thanks to the one thing all sides agree on: healthier eating.

To read more about the Federal Drug Administration warnings regarding HGC diets, you can go to the FDA web page on the subject.

FDA (trade union)
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