Sci-tech Daresbury yesterday (15th May) played host to the second Meet the Experts event, delivered by TRUSTECH on behalf...Read more
£50,000 boost for stroke prevention device
Rapid Rhythm Ltd, a spin-out company jointly owned by TRUSTECH Smart Healthcare Ventures Ltd (SHV) and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), has successfully secured pathfinder investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical to develop a handheld device which aims to provide a quick, automated diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation (AF).
AF is an abnormal heart rhythm which affects around 1 million people in the UK and is a major cause of stroke. It is diagnosed using an Electro Cardio Gram test (ECG) which is usually performed at a hospital once a GP suspects AF is present and makes a referral. Once AF is diagnosed the risk of stroke can be reduced by about two thirds using drugs that prevent blood clots, however the overall process of getting to the point of diagnosis is extremely time consuming and disruptive, particularly for elderly patients.
Adam Fitzpatrick, Consultant Electrophysiologist at the Heart Centre in Manchester Royal Infirmary, has been working with TRUSTECH to develop the Rapid Rhythm device (pictured above), a portable ECG analyser for GPs that provides an automatic diagnosis of AF at the point of care. It is intended to be used to check for the presence of AF each time an elderly patient visits their GP, in the same way that they have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This would identify more patients in AF and could reduce the number of AF related strokes. If 30% of GPs were to use the device it could potentially save the NHS £64m in stroke care costs.
A prototype device has recently been tested within CMFT to assess the accuracy of the algorithm and the usability of the device by health professionals. The £50,000 funding will now be used to fund a range of activities including refinement of the ECG electrode design, market research and a health economics analysis of the potential impact of the device within the NHS.
Dr Adam Fitzpatrick said: “AF carries with it a high risk factor for stroke, which is the third largest cause of death in the UK and many western countries.
“For patients in AF, their risk of stroke can be substantially reduced using anti-coagulant drugs but there is currently no device available which enables healthcare professionals to quickly test patients for the presence of AF, prescribe anti-coagulants and reduce the incidence of stroke.”
James Corden, Business Development Manager at TRUSTECH, has been working closely with Adam during the initial development phases. He said: “We are very excited to have received this funding from SPARK Impact, managers of The North West Fund for Biomedical. The device has real potential to reduce the burden of stroke on the NHS and the devastating effects it has on patients. The SPARK Impact investment will help TRUSTECH develop a commercially viable device to address this unmet clinical need.”
Rapid Rhythm Ltd is a tenant at The MedTECH Centre based on Manchester Science Park. The centre will be able to accommodate the needs of the company as it grows as a business. Dr Paul Hanmer, MedTECH Centre Manager, said: “Initially, the MedTECH Centre will provide space for meetings as the team make arrangements for the next stages of development. We can provide business advice to ensure Rapid Rhythm lay down sustainable business plans and also introduce them to partners who may be interested in getting involved in the project. Further down the line we have workspace which will allow for refinement of the physical device before it goes to trial. The MedTECH Centre offers the perfect facilities to fledgling companies such as Rapid Rhythm.”
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