How My Dad’s Life Might Have Been Different With Today’s Wearable ECG Technology

I’ve spent my entire career as a team member innovating technology used by medical professionals. But, <SPOILER ALERT> – I’m not going to cast even a subtle shadow of doubt on new consumer heart wearables like the Apple® Watch or even more intriguing consumer cardiac tech that’s coming. Why put tacks in that road? I say, “Bring on the consumer health wearables!” Find the bad stuff sooner. Optimize early warning systems as bridges to our healthcare professionals. And make us want to use these tools every day.

Let me tell you a personal story about my father. Dad was an active man; an Army veteran, an amateur bodybuilder in his 30’s, a fit lineman who climbed up and down electric poles all day or night in any New England weather. A non-smoker with no previous cardiovascular condition or positive family history. But still, without warning…

Dad suffered a disabling stroke at age 55 that paralyzed his entire right side. He eventually regained the ability to walk 10-20 feet with a cane and leg brace after months spent in two different Boston-area rehab hospitals. Dad spent the next 10 years unable to speak or express himself clearly, drive, play golf, paint oil pictures of sailing ships with precision — all things that he loved. Personality changed forever. Gone was the Dad I knew, despite a rallying family supporting and loving him as he was. Dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack at age 65, just inside the door of the local ED. His stroke and heart attack changed everything.

How did my seemingly ‘healthy’ father end up like this? High blood pressure? Cardiac arrhythmia? It was both. And over 20 years later, as recently reinforced by a 2018 CDC report and AHA commentary on U.S. mortality statistics, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and stroke is the fifth leading cause.

I’m convinced that the most effective way to avert potentially deadly cardiac abnormalities is through the regular watchful and individualized care of your licensed healthcare provider, who relies on professional grade diagnostic cardiac devices like our Cardea SOLO™ Sensor and System. But I also am a strong advocate for personal health engagement, education and consumer product innovations that may inspire us all to better self-health stewardship. That includes helping us check our own blood pressure and heart rhythm, and suggesting when we should make that important call to our healthcare provider, even if we are symptom-free.

Could a consumer health wearable have resulted in a different trajectory for my father? Maybe “yes” if it was part of a compelling overall heart health program and he really wore the thing faithfully. Maybe “yes” if it gave an early alert to his high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat that needed the attention of his physician.

So, “Bring on the consumer health wearables!” It will be a messy and imperfect evolution, but progress will happen. In the meantime, I’ll continue to work to put even more exciting cardiac diagnosis innovations in the hands of healthcare professionals.

This holiday and always, give the ‘gift’ of better health by taking care of yourself as well as your loved ones.

Wishing you a Safe, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season.

Ann Demaree

For consumer heart health awareness information, visit these websites:

https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/heart-attack-and-stroke-symptoms

https://www.hrsonline.org/Patient-Resources

http://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/us/patient-resources

http://www.strokeassociation.org

For more information on the Cardiac Insight Cardea SOLO System for medical professionals, visit: https://www.cardiacinsightinc.com/cardea-solo/