Israeli entrepreneurs weave ECG into a stretchy shirt to monitor heart activity, warning patients and their doctors of abnormalities on their mobile devices. The shirts could also be used to monitor foetuses and their mothers during high-risk pregnancies. Amy Pollock reports.
This unique 'smart' shirt could save lives. A team of textile and medical experts created the shirt which monitors heart activity and sends alerts of abnormalities directly to patients and their doctors on their mobile phones. HealthWatch, the Israeli company behind the shirt, says speeding up diagnosis and treatment could be invaluable. HealthWatch Vice President Dov Rubin... (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEALTHWATCH VICE PRESIDENT MARKETING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, DOV RUBIN, SAYING "Healthwatch's garment is very unique in the sense that it's just a textile t-shirt that is sensing in this case the electrocardiogram's signals of the heart, able to detect any sort of disease states that the heart and the person they find themselves in, and transmit that data immediately via bluetooth, via the smartphone and directly to the cardiologist, saving very valuable time to get treatment." The shirts, which are wearable in everyday situations and machine washable, incorporate a twelve lead electrocardiogram. This gives the HealthWatch shirt the edge on other wearable heartbeat monitors, says Hadassah University Hospital's Professor Chaim Lotan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF THE HEART INSTITUTE AT HADASSAH UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, PROFESSOR CHAIM LOTAN, SAYING: "If you have a problem which is in one part of the heart you cannot see it if you have only one lead like the other sensors so you can miss a lot of problems if you don't get as good coverage as from a twelve lead ECG." There's also a pocket to hold a transmitter which sends signals to a cloud-based database. Doctors can pick up problems like arrhythmia or a patient falling over as they go about their day-to-day lives. HealthWatch CEO Uri Amir... (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEALTHWATCH CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, URI AMIR, SAYING: "So basically if you are monitored all of the time and you go to work and you go to do sport, you are with your family and so on and no obstacle, no obstruction and so on. This is the revolution because at the same time someone is watching your health." And the developers think the design could be adapted for high-risk pregnant women too. Fashion-conscious patients need not worry - the garment comes in a range of colours of sizes. Commercial production is due early this year.....HealthWatch say you can bet your shirt on that.