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Imagine a world where your smartphone could warn you about an impeding heart attack so that you could all the necessary precautions. Nano-thin silicon heart-and blood-monitoring 'tattoos' on people's arms, which will send a signal to a smartphone if the data indicates a health problem are the basis of the new technology, Stuff.co.nz reported.
Zak Holdsworth, a Silicon Valley digital entrepreneur, and Kiwi is helping bring such technology to market. He reckons that heart patients will be sporting the 'tattoos' on their arms within five years, and in 10 years of time people could be sporting the technology inside their hearts.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
MC10 is the Boston-based technology company behind the tattoos and is now investigating the potential of microchips that are being inserted via catheter on to the heart's inner lining from where a signal will be sent to the patient's phone.
Why is quick treatment for heart patients important?
The heart is the organ responsible for circulating blood within the body. It helps send deoxygenated blood to the lungs to get oxygenated and then provide essential oxygen to all other organs through circulation. Since oxygen is such an integral part of every function in the body, it is important that the heart keeps pumping blood. In the case of heart patients, this functioning either slows down, or stops leading to severe complications like multiple organ failure and even death in a matter of minutes.
Another reason for providing timely treatment is that, the heart is made of muscle that does not regenerate. Muscle damage and death occur when they do not get enough oxygen leading to production of toxic substances. This means that once the muscle is damaged, it cannot repair itself. Therefore, quick response to a heart failure is important to maintain as much functionality as possible.
Lack of oxygen also leads to production of various toxins in the body. These are by-products of what is called 'starvation of body tissue'. These toxins can cause a lot of damage to the body, including organ failure, brain damage, coma and even death. In the case of a life-threatening ailment, the heart muscle starts to die in about 80-90 minutes and the rest of the organs follow. To curb this decline, doctors have coined what is called the 'golden hour'. The golden hour is the time within which the patient suffering from a life threatening ailment should receive treatment, and is also the time when he/she is most likely to recover without any long term damage.
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