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Research project

SAFETY - Screening for Atrial Fibrillation using Economical and accurate TechnologY - a pilot study

  • Lead researcher:
  • Research funder:
    National Institute of Health and Care Research
  • Status:
    Not active

Project overview

This is a case-control study to investigate the accuracy of inexpensive commercial heart-rate/rhythm monitoring devices to detect Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in conjunction with a novel algorithm based on digital entropy.

Several relatively low cost proprietary devices with good overall accuracy now exist which can be used to detect AF including WatchBP and AliveCor. These measure the electrical heart trace or pulse over short time periods (less than a few minutes). They can also be used in GP surgeries to screen for AF. Other devices such as heart rate monitors and activity trackers are also widely available, can measure heart or pulse rate for prolonged periods, and may have potential as screening tools for AF. We are currently unsure of their accuracy.

Patients aged > 65 (who are deemed suitable by the GP and do not have a pacemaker) both with and without AF will be invited from participating GP surgeries to be screened in a random order using the four devices listed below. They will subsequently have a 12-lead ECG which will be read by a panel of cardiologists as a gold-standard diagnosis.

Poalr H7 heart rate monitor
Fisrbeat Bodygurad2

We wish to investigate the overall accuracy of WatchBP, AliveCor and the new App as simple cheap approaches for screening people in the community to see if they have AF. We aim to recruit 329 participants without AF and 73 with AF. The primary outcome is the accuracy of the devices (sensitivity and specificity). We will also evaluate the comfort and usability of the devices and collect qualitative data on views related to screening from patients and GPs.


Lead researcher

Doctor Mark Lown

Clinical Lecturer

Connect with Mark

Research outputs

Michael Brown,
Chloe Brown,
Arthur M. Yue,
Benoy Shah,
Simon Corbett,
George Lewith,
Beth Stuart,
, 2020 , PLoS ONE , 15 (1)
Type: article
Christopher Wilcox,
Stephanie Hughes,
George Lewith,
, 2020 , BMJ Open , 10 (3) , e033061
Type: article
& Patrick Moran
, 2019 , British Medical Journal , 364 (143) , 1--3
Type: letterEditorial
Arthur Yue,
Benoy Shah,
Simon Corbett,
George Lewith,
Beth Stuart,
James Garrard,
Michael Brown,
, 2018 , The American Journal of Cardiology
Type: article
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