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  • Development of a real-time smartphone solution for the management of women with or at high risk of gestational diabetes.

    16 October 2018

    Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as new onset or recognition of glucose intolerance in pregnancy. Evidence supports tight blood glucose regulation to prevent adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Finger-prick blood glucose (BG) testing with frequent clinic review remains the most common method of managing diabetes in pregnancy. The prevalence of GDM is rising globally, pressuring resource-limited services. We have developed an intuitive, interactive, reliable, and accurate management system to record BG measurements and deliver management of GDM remotely. Following an initial scoping phase, a prototype software application was developed using an Android smartphone with BG meter linkage via Bluetooth. A custom website was built for clinician review of the data transmitted by the smartphone. After system refinement, further evaluation was undertaken for usability and reliability in a 48-patient service development project. Women used the system for an average of 13.1 weeks. In all, 19 686 BG measures were transmitted, 98.6% of which had a meal tag. A total of 466 text messages were transmitted. A mean of 30 BG readings per woman per week were transmitted, and 85% of women submitted the minimum requirement of 18 readings per week. We have developed a novel, real-time, smartphone-based BG monitoring management system that allows clinician review of real-time patient-annotated BG results. Results indicate high usage and excellent compliance by women. Robust clinical, economic, and satisfaction evaluations are required. To address these requirements, we are currently conducting a randomized controlled pilot trial.

  • Identification of missed hypertension and hypertensive arteriopathy with home versus ambulatory blood pressure measurement in patients with tia or minor stroke.

    16 October 2018

    Hypertension is a major treatable cause of incident and recurrent stroke. However, it can be missed by one-off clinic measurements. Hypertension guidelines therefore currently recommend ambulatory monitoring (ABPM) prior to treatment in primary prevention. Given high rates of under-treatment of hypertension in secondary prevention after TIA and stroke, we compared Bluetooth home BP monitoring (HBPM) and ABPM in identifying hypertension missed at initial assessment, with validation against pre-morbid BP and markers of hypertensive arteriopathy.

  • Automated signal quality assessment of mobile phone-recorded heart sound signals.

    16 October 2018

    Mobile phones, due to their audio processing capabilities, have the potential to facilitate the diagnosis of heart disease through automated auscultation. However, such a platform is likely to be used by non-experts, and hence, it is essential that such a device is able to automatically differentiate poor quality from diagnostically useful recordings since non-experts are more likely to make poor-quality recordings. This paper investigates the automated signal quality assessment of heart sound recordings performed using both mobile phone-based and commercial medical-grade electronic stethoscopes. The recordings, each 60 s long, were taken from 151 random adult individuals with varying diagnoses referred to a cardiac clinic and were professionally annotated by five experts. A mean voting procedure was used to compute a final quality label for each recording. Nine signal quality indices were defined and calculated for each recording. A logistic regression model for classifying binary quality was then trained and tested. The inter-rater agreement level for the stethoscope and mobile phone recordings was measured using Conger's kappa for multiclass sets and found to be 0.24 and 0.54, respectively. One-third of all the mobile phone-recorded phonocardiogram (PCG) signals were found to be of sufficient quality for analysis. The classifier was able to distinguish good- and poor-quality mobile phone recordings with 82.2% accuracy, and those made with the electronic stethoscope with an accuracy of 86.5%. We conclude that our classification approach provides a mechanism for substantially improving auscultation recordings by non-experts. This work is the first systematic evaluation of a PCG signal quality classification algorithm (using a separate test dataset) and assessment of the quality of PCG recordings captured by non-experts, using both a medical-grade digital stethoscope and a mobile phone.

  • The relationship between symptoms and blood pressure during maintenance hemodialysis.

    16 October 2018

    Intradialytic hypotension (IDH) is a detrimental complication of maintenance hemodialysis, but how it is defined and reported varies widely in the literature. European Best Practice Guideline and Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines require symptoms and a mitigating intervention to fulfill the diagnosis, but morbidity and mortality outcomes are largely based on blood pressure alone. Furthermore, little is known about the incidence of asymptomatic hypotension, which may be an important cause of hypoperfusion injury and impaired outcome. Seventy-seven patients were studied over 456 dialysis sessions. Blood pressure was measured at 15-minute intervals throughout the session and compared with post-dialysis symptom questionnaire results using mixed modeling to adjust for repeated measures in the same patient. The frequency of asymptomatic hypotension was estimated by logistic regression using a variety of commonly cited blood pressure metrics that describe IDH. In 113 sessions (25%) where symptoms were recorded on the questionnaire, these appear not to have been reported to dialysis staff. When symptoms were reported (293 sessions [64%]), an intervention invariably followed. Dizziness and cramp were strongly associated with changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP), but not diastolic blood pressure. Nausea occurred more frequently in younger patients but was not associated with falls in blood pressure. Thresholds that maximized the probability of an intervention rather than a session remaining asymptomatic were SBP <100 mmHg or a 20% reduction in SBP from baseline. The probability of SBP falling to <100 mmHg in an asymptomatic session was 0.23. Symptoms are frequently not reported by patients who are hypotensive during hemodialysis, which leads to an underestimation of IDH if symptom-based definitions are used. A revised definition of IDH excluding patient-reported symptoms would be in line with literature reporting morbidity and mortality outcomes and include sessions in which potentially detrimental asymptomatic hypotension occurs.

  • A personalised mobile-based home monitoring system for heart failure: The SUPPORT-HF Study.

    16 October 2018

    Despite their potential for improving health outcomes, mobile-based home monitoring systems for heart failure have not yet been taken up widely by the patients and providers.To design and iteratively move towards a personalised mobile health monitoring system for patients living with heart failure, according to their health care and usability needs.We present an iterative approach to refining a remote health monitoring system that is based on interactions between different actors (patients, clinicians, social scientists and engineers) and supports the collection of quantitative and qualitative information about user experience and engagement. Patients were provided with tablet computers and commercially available sensing devices (a blood pressure monitor, a set of weighing scales, and a pulse oximeter) in order to complete physiological measurements at home, answer symptom-specific questionnaires, review their personal readings, view educational material on heart failure self-management, and communicate with their health professionals. The system supported unobtrusive remote software upgrades via an application distribution channel and the activation or deactivation of functional components by health professionals during run-time operation. We report early findings from the application of this approach in a cohort of 26 heart failure patients (mean age 72±15 years), their caregivers and healthcare professionals who participated in the SUPPORT-HF (Seamless User-centred Proactive Provision Of Risk-stratified Treatment for Heart Failure) study over a one-year study period (mean patient follow-up duration=270±62 days).The approach employed in this study led to several system upgrades dealing in particular with patient requirements for better communication with the development team and personalised self-monitoring interfaces. Engagement with the system was constantly high throughout the study and during the last week of the evaluation, 23 patients (88%) used the system at least once and 16 patients (62%) at least three times.Designers of future mobile-based home monitoring systems for heart failure and other chronic conditions could leverage the described approach as a means of meeting patients' needs during system use within the home environment and facilitating successful uptake.

  • A pilot study: dose adaptation of capecitabine using mobile phone toxicity monitoring - supporting patients in their homes.

    16 October 2018

    Real-time symptom monitoring using a mobile phone is potentially advantageous for patients receiving oral chemotherapy. We therefore conducted a pilot study of patient dose adaptation using mobile phone monitoring of specific symptoms to investigate relative dose intensity of capecitabine, level of toxicity and perceived supportive care.Patients with breast or colorectal cancer receiving capecitabine completed a symptom, temperature and dose diary twice a day using a mobile phone application. This information was encrypted and automatically transmitted in real time to a secure server, with moderate levels of toxicity automatically prompting self-care symptom management messages on the screen of the patient's mobile phone or in severe cases, a call from a specialist nurse to advise on care according to an agreed protocol.Patients (n = 26) completed the mobile phone diary on 92.6 % of occasions. Twelve patients had a maximum toxicity grade of 3 (46.2 %). The average dose intensity for all patients as a percentage of standard dose was 90 %. In eight patients, the dose of capecitabine was reduced, and in eight patients, the dose of capecitabine was increased. Patients and healthcare professionals involved felt reassured by the novel monitoring system, in particular, during out of hours.It is possible to optimise the individual dose of oral chemotherapy safely including dose increase and to manage chemotherapy side effects effectively using real-time mobile phone monitoring of toxicity parameters entered by the patient.