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Longevity Briefs: Zio, the Revolutionary Wearable Heart Monitor, receives approval from the FDA

Posted on 1 June 2021

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of novel research in biology, medicine, or biotechnology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: The emergence of wearable health tracking devices has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we monitor our health and keep ahead of any change to our well-being before even becoming a problem. We now have watches that track our activity levels, blood oxygenation and heart rate; we have continuous glucose monitors, which has allowed diabetics to keep a close eye on their blood glucose levels; and even bands that can track your mental well-being (Amazon’s Halo).

What did the researchers do: One of the newest members of this growing market is the Zio, by iRhythm, a California-based biotech company. Zio is a wearable cardiac monitor that tracks the wearer’s heart function, and using artificial intelligence and deep-learning algorithms, detects irregular heart rhythms, or arrhythmia.

Zio, iRhythms new wearable heart monitor.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The creators of the device had identified a number of problems with previous cardiac monitors:

  1. Due to their cumbersome nature, more often than not, patients don’t wear them for the prescribed time period.
  2. Conventional monitors can only be worn for up to 48 hours. In many cases, that’s not enough time to get a full picture of the heart.
  3. Data from conventional monitors contains a high degree of noise and interruptions. And it’s often incomplete, resulting in wasted time, costly re-testing and low physician trust.

With Zio, iRhythm, hopes to circumvent these problems by providing a monitor that is comfortable to be worn for up to 14 days without disrupting a patients day-to-day life, whilst also providing a continuous stream of accurate data.

Zio has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), allowing those that need it the most, access to this revolutionary tech.

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