D-Heart interview

Could you give us a brief description of your start-up and explain the reasons that led you to establish it up?

Through the smartphone app, users could register themselves as a patient and perform an 8-channel electrocardiogram, or as a healthcare professional, in this case, they can do a 12-channel ECG.D-Heart is a biomedical start-up founded in 2015 by Niccolò Maurizi and I, Nicolò Briante. Maurizi is a doctor and researcher in the cardiology field, at the University of Florence. When we established D-Heart we were students and roommates at the Almo Collegio Borromeo in Pavia.

At the age of sixteen Niccolò had a heart stroke, this event spurred him to turn his problem into an opportunity which led him to perceive patient’s problems on a better level.

I (Briante) instead, studied Law, but I have always been fascinated by the world of start-ups and hi-tech.

So, together we decided to create D-Heart, the first portable 8/12 channel ECG device for smartphones and tablets, which combines the ease of use required by the patients with the reliability of the ECG needed by the doctors.

In this way, we have obtained, with a single product, two different use cases: a suitable solution for both patient and the healthcare staff. In particular, this last group, despite having medical knowledge, may have difficulty using traditional hospital devices, because they are bulky, complex, expensive, or simply they are not able to interpret the electrocardiogram.

Could you explain how a patient can use your system and which is its interaction with the doctor or hospital?

The device, connected via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet, allows anyone to perform a hospital-grade ECG in total autonomy. The App guides the user, step by step, in the execution of the test and indicates, thanks to the smartphone’s camera and an AI tool, how to correctly position the electrodes.

Once the trace is obtained, the user has two options:

  • sending the trace to the 24/7 telecardiology service, where the cardiologist on duty will analyze and give the report back directly to the user’s smartphone in a few minutes and via email in printable PDF format.
  • The user can send the PDF trace directly to their doctor via email, WhatsApp or message.

The goals we have achieved, in terms of quality, differentiate us from many other solutions which, for ordinary people, may seem the same as ours, such as the Apple Watch, Alivecor, QardioCore that perform an electrocardiogram. But the point is not to do an electrocardiogram, but what kind it is, because one thing is to do a single-channel, single-line ECG, which allows you to diagnose a single disease called atrial fibrillation; another thing is to do an 8-channel and even a 12-channel ECG, which allows dotctors to identify any heart problem, both rhythmic and ischemic.

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