Researchers have developed a new mobile application that can detect atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke, and can timely prevent heart-related complications.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complexities.

The mobile application can save lives all over the world as an up-to-date diagnosis of atrial fibrillation is crucial for effective stroke prevention.

The researchers studied 300 patients with heart problems, half of whom had atrial fibrillation. They managed to identify the patients with atrial fibrillation from the other group with a smartphone.

The mobile application detected which patients had atrial fibrillation even with a 96 percent accuracy. In other words, the application recognized automatically near all cases with atrial fibrillation and the number of false alarms was very low.

“This is the first time that ordinary consumer electronics have achieved such reliable results that they can be actually beneficial for the patient’s medical care,” said co-author Juhani Airaksinen, Professor of Cardiology from Turku University Hospital in Finland. “The results are remarkable as intermittent atrial fibrillation is not always detected even at the doctor’s office,” Airaksinen added.

“If everyone can measure with an ordinary smartphone whether they have atrial fibrillation, we have the possibility to direct patients straight to the doctor and further testing without any delay. Therefore, the potential for economic savings is significant,” Airaksinen said.

The application has been under development for quite some time — it took seven years of careful research to achieve it, the researcher said.