RADAR-base platform being used to measure atrial fibrillation

The RADAR-base platform, developed as part of RADAR-CNS, is now being used to study patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

The University of Birmingham, which is a project partner of the BigData@Heart consortium, is conducting a year-long study as part of the follow-up phase of the RAte control Therapy Evaluation in permanent Atrial Fibrillation (RATE-AF) trial.

Like RADAR-CNS, BigData@Heart is supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative. Its aim is to improve patient outcomes and reduce the societal burden of atrial fibrillation, acute coronary syndrome and heart failure in Europe and globally. To this end, it is developing a data-driven translational research platform to deliver clinically relevant disease phenotypes, scalable insights from real-world evidence, best-practices in drug development, and personalised medicines through advanced analytics.

The Hyve, which provides professional services for software development, data loading, and consultancy for open source biomedical informatics solutions, played a key role in facilitating the use of the RADAR-base platform for this trial, in which sensor data is collected from a wrist device and a smartphone via an app. For the RATE-AF trial, an application to measure PPG (photoplethysmography) measurements using a phone’s flashlight and camera was integrated into the existing app.

The data collected using RADAR-base will supplement clinical measurements such as heart rate, walking distance and blood samples to determine the added value of having data on day-to-day physical activity. 

RATE-AF is funded through a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Career Development Fellowship to Dr Dipak Kotecha, Chief Investigator of the trial at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham. Dr Kotecha comments: “Atrial fibrillation is the commonest heart rhythm disorder and leads to poor quality of life for patients and a high risk of hospital admissions.  We urgently need better ways to assess patients in their daily lives, and this collaboration allows us to test new technology against current clinical practice”.  Around 50 of the trial’s original 160 participants are taking part in the wearable devices study during their follow-up in the RATE-AF trial, and the team expects to publish its findings in early 2020.

Philip, who is participating in the trial, commented: “I like wearing the wristband as it prompts me to get moving and do things that I wasn’t doing before, and I feel better for it. I also like the feedback and encouragement I get from the device and feel it acts like a morale booster. I will keep wearing one even after the trial has finished.”

Richard Dobson, Professor of Medical Bioinformatics at King’s College London, oversees the group leading on the technical packages for both RADAR-CNS and BigData@Heart. He said: “The incorporation of RADAR-base into BigData@Heart trials is a great opportunity for both projects. It helps the RADAR-base community to grow and demonstrates the usability of the platform in areas other than the central nervous system, and it also lets the cardiovascular community collect data types that are complementary to clinical data, which will deepen the understanding of cardiovascular phenotypes and disease mechanisms.”