DCU develops technology for cardiac help in the home

University researchers have created heart technology that can rehabilitate patients in their home. The interactive home exercise programmes are being developed by researchers at Dublin City University (DCU).

Cardio-vascular disease is the leading cause of premature death and disability in the EU and worldwide which costs the EU economy almost €196bn every year.

DCU’s School of Health and Human Performance is leading the €5m European research project which aims to improve the rehabilitation experience of patients recovering from cardio-vascular disease.

The Physical Activity Towards Health project will develop health technologies to create personalised rehabilitation programmes for patients. These allow them to remotely take part in exercise sessions in the privacy of their own homes, receive immediate feedback and encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Instruction and advice will be provided by an online personal trainer, as user feedback will be recorded, through the use of sensors placed on the patient.

Currently, heart patients are referred to community-based programmes which often have very low levels of uptake, of about 11%, and even higher rates of patient drop-out.

Reasons include; long travel times, being overwhelmed by large groups, perceived poor body image and lack of confidence to complete the exercises.

Dr Kieran Moran of DCU’s School of Health & Human Performance who is co-ordinating the project said:

“There are many barriers to participation in community-based programmes, including: no nearby medically appropriate programmes, travel time, scheduling issues, lack of peer mentoring, low self confidence, related perceived poor exercise technique and perceived poor body image.

Funding for the project was received through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme.

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