In a remarkable performance, students of Karachi University’s Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) have created a prototype model of a ‘heart attack detection device’ for patients with cardiac or cardiovascular disorders. The heart attack detector device consists of a smart kit including a circuit and is in its primary developmental stage.
According to the team — consisting of eight PhD students — the project has been designed for the first time in Pakistan. The internal circuit will continuously monitor the cardiac rate and rhythm of users and put it on the screen.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, who is the director of International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at Karachi University, is looking over the project.
Citing figures released by World Health Organization in May 2014, Prof. Iqbal said:
“Some 111,367 deaths which make up 9.87 per cent of the total deaths in Pakistan are caused by cardiovascular diseases (CVD).”
Prof. Iqbal said the heart patients need urgent treatment when they experience major or minor cardiac arrests. The electrocardiogram or ECG is a common technique used to detect heart attacks and for that the patient needs to be urgently hospitalized. He maintained:
“The delay in the start of the treatment can aggravate the condition of the patient, who requires urgent medical treatment. This situation demands development of a quick and urgent detecting system for heart attacks.”
How does it work?
The device can record both the temperature and heart beat of a person; can detect the unusual signals and redirect them to the concerned people – including, relatives, ambulance service and physician while using Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), the research team claimed.
The device can further add blood pressure specifications and can make an alarm if it enters the danger zone after crossing the specified limit of heart beats.
Aisha Aziz, who is a doctoral student in Pharmacology at Karachi University, explained how in most of the cases patients ignoring the primary symptoms of a cardiac attack consider them as minor digestive problem and depend on home medication.
“If in such cases, the patient visits the physician or takes the prescribed medicine on time then his life can be saved before the symptoms aggravate.”
Another team member, Saba Majeed, expressed that such products developed locally could transform medical procedures and help create new chapters in the field of technology and innovation. The project has also claimed top prize at the distinguished Entrepreneurship Competition held in Islamabad last month. The device costs approximately PKR 30,000. However, the price can be significantly reduced by adopting mass production to cut down upon costs.