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Smart phone app aids heart attack recovery

April 9, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Researchers at the Mayo Clinic designed an online and smartphone app that they believed would help individuals undergoing rehabilitation after suffering a heart attack. What they discovered was that the use of this app helped reduce emergency department visits and hospital readmissions by 40 percent.

According to a press release, 44 patients at the Mayo Clinic who were hospitalized following a heart attack and stent placement were divided into two groups: 25 received cardiac rehab and the online/smartphone-based program, while the 19 in the control group received only cardiac rehab. Patients in the app group were asked to enter data such as weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and minutes of physical activity each day into the program downloaded onto their mobile device. The app also included educational materials aimed at preventing another heart attack.

Only 20 percent of the patients who attended cardiac rehab and used the app were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department within 90 days, compared with 60 percent of those in the control group.

“We know from studies that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation lower their risks significantly for another cardiac event and for rehospitalization,” said Amir Lerman, MD, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and senior study author, in a press release. “We wanted to see if offering patients a smartphone app, in addition to their cardiac rehab, would increase their ability to reduce their risk even further. We know that people use their mobile devices all day, and we hoped using it for cardiac rehab would help them in their recovery.”