A Heart Rate Monitoring App (FibriCheck) for Atrial Fibrillation in General Practice: Pilot Usability Study

JMIR Form Res. 2021 Apr 7;5(4):e24461. doi: 10.2196/24461.


Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major risk factor for stroke. The current opportunistic screening procedure consists of pulse palpation and an electrocardiogram when an irregular rhythm is found. Smartphone apps that measure heart rhythm could be useful in increasing the detection of AF in a primary care setting.

Objective: We conducted a pilot study with the smartphone app FibriCheck to assess whether the introduction of such an app is feasible.

Methods: Four general practices across Flanders provided patient data for the study. Inclusion criteria for participants were aged 65 or older and a CHARGE-AF score of at least 10%. We excluded patients with known AF or a pacemaker. Participants were asked to measure at least twice a day with FibriCheck (for at least 14 days). They were provided the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) questionnaire both before and after the study, as well as different surveys concerning their user experience and general perception of technology.

Results: There were 92 participants (36 women and 56 men). The study population was relatively homogenous concerning risk factors and medication use at baseline. During the study period, 5/86 (6%) participants were found to have AF (6 dropouts). The average study period was 23 days and the average number of measurements per day was 2.1. Patient compliance was variable, but high. On the whole, there were no appreciable changes in quality of life. The overall user experience and satisfaction were very high.

Conclusions: FibriCheck is a relatively easy-to-use smartphone app to complement AF screening in primary care. Its implementation in this setting is certainly achievable, and one can expect high rates of patient compliance. Based on these results, a planned cluster randomized trial will be going ahead.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03509493; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03509493.

Keywords: FibriCheck; atrial fibrillation; primary care; smartphone app.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03509493