This smartphone can detect heart failure

An international research team has succeeded in turning the smartphone into a diagnostic tool for dangerous heart disease. In this way, the phone becomes a medical device that works with established non-invasive technology.

With innovative technology, smartphones can enable diagnostics.


This is the future of diagnostics: an innovative process designed by researchers at the University of Turku in Finland makes it possible to use a smartphone to analyze heart movements, thus detecting heart failure at an early stage. CardioSignal has developed this system further. Five research institutes and organizations from Finland and the United States participated in this research project.

A smartphone instead of complicated imaging procedures

Heart failure is a serious disease in which the heart cannot adequately perform its vital function of pumping blood throughout the body. For example, it occurs as a result of various cardiovascular diseases and can cause symptoms that require repeated hospitalizations.

The challenge in diagnosis is that common symptoms such as shortness of breath, unusual fatigue during physical exertion, or swollen legs and feet can also be caused by other illnesses. There is no simple test for diagnosis. Instead, it relies on complex imaging techniques including physical examination, blood tests and echocardiography. So-called chirocardiography with a smartphone should change that.

Motion sensors in smartphones detect vibrations

Gyrocardiography, a non-invasive method of detecting heart vibrations on the surface of the chest, uses motion sensors built into smartphones to detect and record these vibrations – even those that cannot be observed with a stethoscope. The technology was developed over the past ten years by researchers at the University of Turku with the support of CardioSignal.

A recent study yielded promising results. University hospitals in Turku and Helsinki in Finland and Stanford University Hospital in the US were also involved. About 1,000 people, including about 200 patients with heart failure, participated in the study. The scientists compared data recorded by motion sensors from participants with heart failure to those from healthy people.

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