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Finger Device Might Predict Heart Attacks

Posted Mar 30 2009 3:39pm

EndoPAT by Itamar Medical, is a simple device for non-invasive measurement of endothelial function. Researchers at Mayo Clinic and Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston used this device to test 270 patients between the ages of 42 and 66 and followed their progress from August 1999 to August 2007. What they found was that 49% of patients whose EndoPAT test indicated poor endothelial function had a cardiac event during the seven-year study. It seams that EndoPAT might be very useful for risk assessment of the patients.

How does this thing work?

EndoPAT consists of digital recording equipment and two finger probes. During the test probes are placed on each index finger and hooked up to a small machine to measure blood flow. A standard blood pressure cuff is placed on one arm; the arm without the cuff is the control. A reading of the fingers’ blood flow rate begins, and then the blood pressure cuff on one arm is inflated for a few minutes and then deflated, allowing for three timed readings. The role of the inflated blood pressure cuff is to occlude and then release blood flow to assess reactive hyperemia (RH), the normal blood flow response that occurs when occlusion is released. In the study, 49 percent of the patients who went on to have a cardiac event had a low RH score.

The study mentioned in the article will be presented Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 11:30 a.m. EDT at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in Orlando.

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