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    System offers cardiovascular reports by text message

2006-01-17 05:42

China has launched a remote cardiovascular monitoring system, sources with the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

An expert said that the system, linked to a database of more than 900 Chinese hospitals nationwide, is designed to provide a 24-hour monitoring service.

He explained that concerned people will use an electrocardiograph the same size as a mobile phone. By holding the electrocardiograph to their chest for a few seconds, and then pressing a button, users will be able to immediately submit data to the monitoring centre.

Doctors will immediately make a diagnosis and send advice to the user in the form of a text message. This way, healthy people who want high-quality health care or patients who do not need hospital observation can check the state of their heart and blood vessels in real time.

Luo Weisi, a well-known expert in the field who used to be a member of the medical group with the Chinese delegation to the last three Olympic Games, said that Chinese hospitals focus on patients who suffer from heart disease, and seldom draw attention to those who stay out of hospital. However, the heart disease situation is worsening in China with hidden diseases becoming more prominent.

In comparison with other diseases, cardiovascular disease today has the highest growth and recurrence rate of all diseases in China.

Statistics show that the country has more than 40 million patients with cardiovascular disease. Each year, deaths from cardiovascular disease account for 50 per cent of the total deaths in China. 75 per cent of the survivors lose their ability to work to some extent and 4 per cent are severely disabled.

Controlling cardiovascular disease in China has therefore become an urgent medical and social problem, Luo said.

He noted that developed countries have lower death rates from heart disease due to the high consciousness of prevention among the public and the continuous monitoring service provided by both public and private hospitals.

Yang Yuejin, another well-known expert in cardiovascular diseases, said better disease prevention is of great significance to improving Chinese medical services. The launching of the remote monitoring system is no doubt part of the solution.

(China Daily 01/17/2006 page2)


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