Smartphone App More Accurate in Blood Flow Assessment than the Gold Standard


A smartphone and its apps and features / Photo by: USA-Reiseblogger via Pixabay


A new study tested the accuracy of a smartphone app to assess blood flow in the wrist artery and found it to be better than the gold standard. The findings showed the potential of the app in clinical settings to help clinicians with bedside healthcare.

Smartphone App Outmatches the Allen Test

The Allen test is used to examine the blood flow of the artery of the hands. It is sometimes used by doctors to check blood circulation before procedures can be performed on the wrist or hand. Aside from that, doctors may also use the test to check for the following conditions:

- Arterial blood gas: May be used for people with asthma, breathing issues or lung problems. When a blood sample is taken from the wrist artery, there is a chance that the needle puncture can cause arterial problems. So the Allen test is used to check the state of the artery.

- Heart bypass surgery: There are two arteries in the wrist – the radial and the ulnar. Doctors sometimes check the radial artery during the heart bypass surgery.

- Kidney dialysis: The test may be used to find where the best artery is located for the dialyzer.

Because of the vital role of the Allen test in procedures, an accurate result is essential for patient care. In the randomized trial submitted to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the researchers recruited 438 participants to test the new smartphone app. One group was assessed using the Allen test, while the other was assessed using the app. With the specially designed software and built-in parts, the app showed 94 percent accuracy in assessing blood flow, compared to the 84 percent accuracy of the gold standard.

"The current report highlights that a smartphone application can outperform the current standard of care and provide incremental diagnostic yield in clinical practice," said Dr. Benjamin Hibbert at the University of Ottawa Heart Insitute.

However, the app is still not approved for clinical settings and more tests are needed to ensure that it meets all scientific standards. But the findings highlighted the increasing potential of mobile devices in aiding health care services which should be considered by governing bodies.