A stroke is an emergency medical condition where the blood supply to the brain gets disrupted, leading to cell death. Because this condition is so dependent on timely medical attention, longer delays can lead to permanent loss of body movement and functions, according to the part of the brain that is damaged.
Although stroke treatment options are now quite effective, the condition’s subtle onset symptoms still make it difficult to diagnose. These include difficulty in speaking and walking, headaches, and dizziness. However, hemiparesis i.e. paralysis in one side of the body is the most telling sign of a stroke.
Taking inspiration from this knowledge, a Medtech company called Alva Health has developed a wristband that can help diagnose strokes.
“It has been well documented that timely arrival in the emergency room after stroke symptom onset is directly associated with better outcomes for tPA treatment and endovascular therapy, specifically 4.5 hours and 8 hours, respectively,” says Sandra Saldana, CEO, and Co-Founder of Alva Health. “However, despite massive public health campaigns, identifying symptoms of stroke and activating emergency response systems has remained a major challenge over the years.”
While it usually takes medical professionals and a series of tests to diagnose a stroke, Alva Health explains that their wristband can help expedite the process so its wearer can get medical health immediately.
The wristband connects to a mobile app and “cloud-based analysis”. Once worn, the device monitors its wearer for signs of a hemiparesis onset. If it detects the symptom, it notifies the wearer that they are having a stroke. If the user does not respond within 2 minutes, the device connects them with trained personnel who can assess their condition and notify emergency services and the user’s emergency contacts.
After winning the Medtech Innovator’s 2021 global competition, the company plans to begin clinical trials for their wearable in 2022. The plan is to initially recruit previous stroke survivors as volunteers because they run a high risk of recurrence. The trial will demonstrate the device’s ability to continuously monitor the wearer’s health. It will also give the company a chance to improve its algorithm and design. The company also plans to work with the FDA to gain its approval.