New iPhone App Improves the Chance of Survival for Heart Attack Victims

    16 June, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

    Researchers have developed an experimental iPhone application, or app, they can improve the chances of survival for heart attack victims.

    The iPhone app is specially designed to identify patients suffering from a heart attack known as STEMI, or ST-elevation myocardial infarction.

    In STEMI, blood flow to the heart is stopped because of a blockage in a coronary artery.  Unlike other kinds of heart attacks, STEMIs show up very clearly on an electrocardiogram, or ECG.  Doctors use such tests to measures a electrical activity in the heart. 

    The experimental iPhone app, should be a great help to healthcare technicians reacting to a possible medical emergency. They can perform an ECG, and then take a picture of the tests results with the camera on the telephone. They can then send that information ahead to hospital emergency-room doctors.

    The iPhone App is the work of David Burt and his students at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He says the app can help save lives by preparing doctors for the arrival of the STEMI patient.

    "So a decision made as early as possible in the STEMI treatment process allows the system to ramp up or mobilize so that when the patient shows up, they are pushed into the "cath" [catheterization] lab, everything happens and their [coronary] artery gets opened [unblocked]."

    David Burt and his team tested the app 1,500 times over three American cellular phone networks in an populated area.

    "If your iPhone at the time that you hit 'send' shows two or more bars, the app is successful in sending an image 94-plus percent of the time in less than 10 seconds."

    The developers are now testing the iPhone app in rural areas, where cell phone reception is more problematic than in cities.

    In a separate story, a farmer in China who lost his hands in a fishing accident has turned his tragedy into a family business. His company now sells bionic arms to other amputees.

    Sun Jifa of Jilin province lost his hands nearly ten years ago. His own  bionic arms was the first one he built. He says it transfers the power from the natural movement of his elbows into the finger allowing it to grab and hold. He turns his work into a home based business.

    Sun Jifa says he has sold about 1000 steel limbs at a cost of $490 each. He says they are less costly and just as effective as higher quality prosthesis.

    And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report. I'm June Simms.