Many people do not face traditional symptoms of heart attack like chest pain or high blood pressure, and when they know it has been too late. Some people ignore the signs, taking it lightly.
The inventors of the AngelMed Guardian System hope the device will reduce the death rate from heart attacks by 25 per cent, by alarming the user as soon as possible.
This will enable them to get to hospital perhaps two hours sooner than they would have done, reducing the chance of death and preventing heart muscle.
It works by picking up not so obvious changes to the electrical signals produced by the heart, when one of the organ’s major arteries is at imminent risk of being blocked by a clot.
Dr Robert Wlodarczyk, a cardiologist at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare in California, said: “This device alerts you as soon as any evidence of mycardial ischaemia or heart attack begins, this giving you precious minutes to hours to get to a doctor and get help.
“For every 30 minutes that you wait, because you don’t know you’re having a heart attack, your deth rate increases by 7.5 per cent.
“This device is designed to cut that time and possibly save 25 to 30 per cent more lives.”
About the size of an old-style pager, it is implanted just under the skin below the collar bone.
It can alert the wearer to a potentially serious problem, in which case they should see a doctor in 48 hours, or that an attack is just about to happen, in which case they should get straight to hospital.
It can also be made to either beep or vibrate, depending on preference, like a mobile phone.