(RxWiki News) Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
That is why it's important to diagnose the disease early. According to a new study, attaching a device to people's finger while they sleep can easily identify those at risk of heart disease.
Researchers found that a special type of pulse oximeter - a device normally used to detect sleep disorders and measure the amount of oxygen in the blood - can be used to identify people who face a high risk of heart disease.
The device - which is placed on the finger while a person sleeps - provides a simple way to measure various parts of a person's vascular health.
"A new device easily measures a person's risk of heart disease."
According to Ludger Grote, associate professor at the Center for Sleep and Vigilance Disorders at the Sahlgrenska Academy, the information gathered by the device indicates a person's risk for heart disease just as much as their history does 'on paper.'
The device works by measuring five components of the signal from the finger: pulse wave attenuation, pulse rate acceleration, pulse propagation time, respiration-related pulse oscillation, and oxygen desaturation.
In a pilot study of 148 people, the device detected more than 80 percent of patients who were at high risk of heart disease.
Grote and colleagues are currently working on a prototypes for a portable device that can be used clinically.
Until then, more research is needed to confirm this study's results and to make sure the device accurately detects risk of heart disease.