A new device in development to prevent heart attacks


y Sharon Niv, Ph.D.

Oxitone, a new device set to hit the market in 2015, will carry the potential to prevent nearly 50% of all heart attacks. The Israeli company’s CEO, Leon Elsen, said in a recent interview that nearly half of all individuals who die from cardiac arrests or pulmonary arrests would survive if they were brought to the hospital with enough time to be treated. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize the symptoms that precede heart attacks. Additionally, some heart attacks are considered ‘silent,’ meaning they do not present in a typical manner and hence are more likely to be missed. Oxitone promises to recognize the signs of cardiac or pulmonary attacks before time runs out, and hence increase the likelihood of sufficient time for treatment.

This device, which is worn around the wrist much like a watch, keeps track of blood oxygenation levels and pulse continuously. The data is transmitted via bluetooth to Android or iPhone devices. If the measurements find dangerous levels of pulse or oxygenation, an alert will be sent to predetermined locations, such as a local hospital’s emergency room. The device can also be used for long-term monitoring by personal physicians.

Oxitone was recently selected by GE Healthcare’s Start-Up Health Academy Entrepreneurship Program to participate in its 3 year program as one of  13 companies. This development means that GE is committed to bringing Oxitone’s product to the market.

In addition to heart and pulmonary attacks, this device could prove crucial to sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema, all of which effect hundreds of millions of people around the world. Oxitone is projected to cost approximately $200 and should be available for shipping in approximately 18 months.

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