The heart may be the most important muscular organ in the human body but it is also simultaneously the one most affected by an individual’s choice of diet, levels of physical activity and harmful habits and substances, leading to a host of pathological conditions. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one such example, although there are many others serious cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
Truth be told, CAD is the biggest killer of them all, accounting for 9.43 million deaths in 2016 while stroke was the cause of 5.78 million deaths. Much talked about cancer is in second place, accounting for 8.96 million deaths in the same year .
Yet, unlike cancer, which can be prevented in 30 to 50% of cases, up to 80% of all CVDs could be prevented by smoking avoidance/cessation, healthy diet and regular physical activity [2, 3]. Nevertheless, rates of CVDs are still unacceptably high, and physicians can generally do little in the way of effective prevention but occupy themselves with diagnosis, treatment and management of these diseases.
Besides those where the underlying pathological mechanism is atherosclerosis, that naturally also includes a wide variety of cardiac arrhythmias. Like many conditions with atherosclerotic aetiology, some of them, like atrial fibrillation (AF), may be entirely asymptomatic (as experienced by the patient) and can only be detected using modern diagnostic devices .
This brings us to the electrocardiograph (ECG), a standard diagnostic device, which is or at least should be available at any healthcare facility as cardiovascular issues are a common reason for visiting the doctor . Today there are many different types of ECGs available, but it hasn’t always been like that.
The MESI mTABLET ECG diagnostic device uses the MESI mRECORDS EHR management and sharing system, including seamless sharing of data with other specialists who may not be users of the MESI mTABLET, but have access to a PC or a mobile device.
The first ECGs were very basic devices by modern standards and were of limited diagnostic value. Their history is intertwined with that of modern electrical engineering and essentially goes back to the second half of the 18th century when the famous Italian physician and physicist Luigi Galvani discovered that skeletal muscles could be contracted through the application of an electric current . Fast forward half a century and several important discoveries later, Carlo Matteucci demonstrated that an electric current accompanies every heartbeat, albeit that of a frog . Still, this important discovery paved the way for the first electrocardiograph of a human heart, recorded by a British physiologist Augustus Desiré Waller in 1887 . The first practical ECG device was invented relatively soon afterwards, in 1901 by a Dutch physician Willem Einthoven.
Today’s ECGs are, of course, far more user-friendly and advanced and capable of detecting changes in the electrical activity of the patient’s heart that may happen due to arrhythmias, myocardial infarction (MI), various medications, electrolyte imbalance and anaesthesia. Patients in the latter group also require continuous monitoring as opposed to standard 10 second recordings .
Accurate diagnosis of the most common arrhythmia, affecting an estimated 33.5 million individuals worldwide in 2010, should also entail longer ECG recordings, up to 60 seconds [11, 12]. However, in most cases, ECG is not enough to paint a complete picture of a patient’s cardiac fitness and potential issues . A cautious physician would also consider all other potential risk factors and already diagnosed comorbid conditions as recorded in the patient’s medical records, although that may take significant time perusing through thick paper medical records and diagnostic images. Electronic health records (EHRs) are by comparison far easier to browse through, particularly if that can be done on the diagnostic device itself.
Many modern ECGs have integrated automatic interpretation algorithms, which are useful to general practitioners and other specialists, but are not equal to evaluation by a trained cardiologist . Of course, the specialist needs to receive the ECG records in order to give his or her opinion and that may often happen too late as medical records are easily misplaced. EHRs, on the other hand, can be saved in cloud storage and be easily shared with others. However, not all EHR management systems are equal.
The MESI mTABLET ECG diagnostic device uses the MESI mRECORDS EHR management and sharing system, including seamless sharing of data with other specialists who may not be users of the MESI mTABLET, but have access to a PC or a mobile device. Ease of use and great user experience aside, the MESI mTABLET ECG is a versatile diagnostic tool with fully customisable operation. From switching between filters for removing interference of various kinds to adding personal comments to records, the user is in complete control of the diagnostic process and can work faster and more efficiently than he or she would otherwise.
The ECG is an essential diagnostic method of assessing cardiac function and should be available at every healthcare facility. When the assessment is paired with other medically relevant information about the patient in their EHR – as supported in the MESI mTABLET ECG diagnostic device – it provides valuable additional knowledge. Among many other supported features, MESI mTABLET ECG allows seamless data sharing, which greatly enhances its versatility.