Cooper receives $70K grant to study new wearable heart monitor developed by one of its own doctors 

Robert A. Hirsh,

Cooper University Health Care’s Innovation Center has received a $70,000 grant from the New Jersey Health Foundation to study a new wearable heart monitor for the early detection of congestive heart failure.

The novel device, invented and developed over several years by Dr. Robert Hirsh, a member of the Anesthesiology Department at Cooper and associate professor of clinical anesthesiology at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, has the potential to provide an “early warning” and presymptom diagnosis and prevention for those at risk of congestive heart failure.

“Congestive heart failure is complicated and expensive to manage. Unfortunately, there currently exists no definitive, non-invasive way to detect who may be at risk of CHF outside of a hospital setting well before they show symptoms when the disease could be potentially better managed,” Hirsh said. “So often, the medical community manages diseases after they present themselves. My motivation for developing this new device is to identify those at risk of CHF before it becomes a chronic condition. This will potentially lead to more optimal outcomes for patients as well as cost savings.”

While electrocardiography is a well-established and broadly useful method for diagnosing certain heart conditions, many heart conditions, such as CHF, are not detected by ECG alone, Hirsh explains. Separately, seismocardiography testing monitors the mechanical movement of the heart, but it alone cannot detect CHF.

Through his research, Hirsch discovered that, by combining ECG and SCG monitoring through a small, non-invasive wearable device, physicians are able to collect and analyze data and obtain novel insights into efficient cardiac function well before a patient experiences CHF. This type of diagnostic information is currently only available in a snapshot taken through a 2D echocardiogram, administered in a health care setting by a healthcare professional.

The relatively low-cost wearable device works by identifying subtle changes in the heart’s relaxation function (lusitropic myocardial function) in relation to its contraction function (inotropic myocardial function) on a beat-by-beat basis to assess myocardial well-being or pathology on a real-time basis. Because of its relatively small size and portability, many more patients will be able to be screened on an outpatient basis without having to travel to a hospital. The device may also be useful for patients who live remotely from health care facilities or who have other barriers to receiving care.

To date, clinical proof of concept has been achieved in a large animal model as well as in a pilot clinical study using a custom research grade device. The grant funding will cover the cost of further studies involving subjects who are healthy, CHF patients and at-risk populations.