London: A new pulse monitoring device that researchers say could prevent a stroke by detecting irregular heartbeat has been developed.
The device, which automatically checks if a patient has a condition called atrial fibrillation, in which the heart beats slightly irregularly, is being recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in UK.
Up to two million people - mostly elderly - suffer from the condition that causes blood to linger in a heart chamber, forming clots that can then be pushed into arteries and get stuck, resulting in stroke.
Every year some 12,500 people suffer AF-related strokes. If diagnosed, people can reduce their chance of stroke by taking blood-thinning drugs, `The Telegraph` reported.
However, although it can cause dizziness, palpitations and shortness of breath, hundreds of thousands do not know they have it as they have no symptoms.
Of the two million estimated by the Atrial Fibrillation Association in UK to have it, some 600,000 are undiagnosed.
Nice is recommending to doctors the 75 pounds "WatchBP Home A" device that monitors blood pressure and pulse regularity.
Professor Carole Longson, from Nice, said the device "could increase the detection rate of AF compared with taking the pulse by hand".
"The guidance is not about screening for AF, but about the benefits that the device offers in helping to pick up AF by chance in being with suspected high blood pressure," she said.
"Unfortunately not everyone who has AF will know they have it, yet we know that around 4,500 strokes each year could be prevented if AF patients received appropriate treatment," said Dr Clare Walton, from UK`s Stroke Association.