Phone app helps doctors make right call in treating heart patients

A smart phone app could help doctors more easily identify patients who are at risk of dying within three years a heart attack.

The app will help doctors, nurses or paramedics quickly calculate the severity of a patient's condition and help them offer the most appropriate immediate and long-term treatments.

The speed and versatility of the device, which was developed by the Universities of Edinburgh and Massachusetts, will help doctors decide if a patient needs to be transferred to a specialist cardiac centre.

It will enable clinicians to identify whether patients are at risk of a repeat attack, both shortly after the first attack and also over the next three years.

This will assist clinicians to draw up longer-term treatment plans compared with a previous system that assessed risk over a six-month-period.

The app draws upon data from the Global Registry of Coronary Events (GRACE). This includes details of more than 100,000 in 14 countries over ten years.

It also incorporates data from 3700 patients in Scotland and Belgium over a five-year period.

Treatments to prevent repeat heart attacks can have unwanted side-effects, so the app will help clinicians work out whether the benefits of certain therapies outweigh the risks of side-effects to individual patients.

Risk of repeat heart attacks are calculated by taking account of a patient's heart rate, blood pressure, , severity of original attack and history of . Details about the app are being presented today at (TUESDAY) at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam.

Development of the app was supported by the British Heart Foundation, the Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates and AstraZeneca.

Professor Keith Fox, a British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Edinburgh, who led work on developing the app, said: "One in five patients is likely to die within five years of their initial heart attack. Identifying those most at risk of a repeat heart attack means we can better tailor treatments to the individual and prevent further attacks."

More information: The risk calculator can be accessed as a smart phone app at

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