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Can an ECG lead placement device improve clinical trials? 

Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective. A small company has discovered a solution to the dilemma of inaccuracies when obtaining electrocardiograms (ECGs). ECGs have been around for a hundred years, but we're still making them better.

An interesting small company has developed the Cardioquick device that makes ECG tracings more accurate. The device works by expanding to the appropriate size for different patients and maintains the proper spacing between the precordial (chest) leads for an ECG. This functionality is particularly important in many women for whom accurate ECG placement is often poor due to the inconvenience of moving the subject's breast several times to place leads.

We performed a survey of practicing researchers to assess their views on this ECG placement device. Eighty-eight percent of physicians felt that current ECG placement techniques created a quality issue. Sixty-four percent agreed that the Cardioquick patch could improve lead placement; 32% were undecided. The most common reasons cited for the improvement attributable to the patch were improved technician efficiency and the capability to internationally standardize ECG placement across trial sites among patients with different body types.

And yes, we perform ECGs at ""no charge"" during clinical trials. Contact us if you're interested.

Posted by Amy Autry Bush Saturday, August 11, 2012 8:41:00 AM Categories: Breakthroughs

Dr. K's Corner 

Media Reports Often Hide Truths....

Media reports of medical stories often hide truths that experienced researchers can uncover. A good example of getting to the truth can be found in the recent headline, “American Men Finally Closing the Longevity Gap.”

MSNBC reported that between 1989 and 2009, US men increased their expected life span by 4.6 years, whereas women gained 2.6 years. The article then quoted so-called experts and attributed the difference between the sexes as a reflection of men reducing cardiac risk factors such as smoking, and cholesterol, better than women.

As much as I’d like to fist pump fellow men for success, the conclusion of this article doesn't hold up under the researchers’ critical analysis. While it’s true that the US has seen a dramatic 50% drop in heart disease deaths in the US over the past 20 years due to better medical treatments and diets, researchers have found that these benefits have occurred about equally in both men and women. Therefore, I suspect that reduced heart disease mortality is responsible for most of the longevity gains in women and probably about half the improvements seen in men.

But a clue about what really closed the gender gap comes from regional statistics. In New York City, men experienced a staggering 13.6 years of longer predicted life span between 1989 and 2009. San Francisco men averaged 11.7 years more and other big gains occurred in Washington DC. While New York City officials gloated about a changed in their urban culture regarding smoking and exercise, the real reason for the narrowed gender gap never got mentioned in the article – AIDS. Since 1989, AIDS which disproportionately killed young men in the 1980s, changed from a death sentence to a manageable long term illness.

So credit your favorite cardiologist for the overall improvement in life expectancy and pat an HIV researcher on the back for narrowing the gender gap which, by the way, still persists as US ladies live, on average, 81.3 years and 5.1 years longer than us poor fellows.

Posted by Amy Autry Bush Saturday, August 11, 2012 8:34:00 AM Categories: Insider Corner
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