iHealth Lab, a provider of mobile personal healthcare products that are connected through the cloud, is collaborating with UC San Francisco and University of California's Berkeley Lab on a pilot study to make arterial endothelial function testing as easy to perform as a simple blood pressure measurement.
Research has shown that flow-mediated dilation (FMD) studies of endothelial function are a sensitive and independent early assessor of current heart health and predictor of future heart attacks and strokes. In this study, Berkeley Lab's Dr. Jonathan Maltz is testing a unique new algorithm and methodology to assess endothelial function using a modified blood pressure cuff and mobile application custom-designed by iHealth.
"Measuring blood flow through assessing endothelial function is theoretically a better predictor of future heart health than measuring cholesterol," said Maltz. "However, traditional methods of assessing endothelial function using ultrasonography require a great degree of skill, experience and subject compliance to obtain high-quality measurements. We have developed a method of measuring changes in the volume of the brachial artery that requires neither relatively costly and bulky ultrasound equipment, nor any technical skill on the part of the operator."
For this pilot study, which is part of the broader Health eHeart Study, instead of ultrasound, an iHealth blood pressure cuff is used to take the measurement and data is passed directly to an iHealth mobile application. This convenient and potentially more accurate method of endothelial function assessment will allow clinicians and individuals to obtain sensitive feedback regarding the effect of interventions such as smoking cessation, diet and exercise regimens, antihypertensive therapy and cholesterol-lowering medications on arterial function.
The lead investigator of the study, Dr. Jeffrey Olgin, chief, division of cardiology, UCSF School of Medicine, has begun phase I of the cuff-measured flow-mediated dilation (cFMD) study in collaboration with the Veteran's Administration (VA). The data will be run through Maltz's patent pending algorithm, and subjects will be assigned a baseline FMD score. Measurements will be simultaneously collected and compared to tests using the traditional echo-measured FMD (uFMD) methodology.
"Using iHealth's technology in this study makes collecting data much easier, cost effective and scalable than using the conventional uFMD methodology," said Olgin. "Our hope is that data from this clinical study will help prove a new clinical method for being able to more accurately predict if an individual is in imminent danger of having a heart attack."
"By collaborating with UCSF and UC Berkeley, we believe we can help clinicians move beyond detection and prevention to actual prediction of the number one killer of adults in the U.S.," said Adam Lin, president of iHealth Lab.