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Photo by: Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette
A Carle employee demonstrates new KardiaMobile portable EKG device, which uses fingertip sensors to read a patient's heart rhythm, on Friday at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.
URBANA — For Erin Eddy, atrial fibrillation is a big concern.
The stroke program coordinator for Carle, Eddy said the risk for stroke is four to five times higher for anyone with this heart-rhythm disorder.
That's why she's encouraging anyone with atrial-fibrillation symptoms or risk factors to take advantage of a free screening event being held Tuesday.
Atrial fibrillation, which causes rapid or irregular heartbeats, is often confirmed with an electrocardiogram. Also called an EKG, that test involves placing electrodes on the chest and/or limbs.
Carle will be offering a public screening event using KardiaMobile devices. KardiaMobile is mobile EKG that takes about a minute, and can also be done at home paired with a smartphone. Patients find out if their hearts are in normal rhythm or in atrial fibrillation by placing their fingertips on the sensors of a tiny pad.
Compared to an EKG, which uses 12 leads — meaning it gathers information from 12 areas of the heart — a KardiaMobile is a single-lead device.
It's not intended to be a medical diagnosis, Eddy warned. But it can give patients an indication of whether they should be seeing a doctor about atrial fibrillation.
It's estimated that 9 percent of adults 65 or older have atrial fibrillation, and it's a contributing cause of death for 130,000 people a year.
Older adults face a higher risk, but among other factors that raise risk are obesity, heavy alcohol use, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
The screening will be held from 8-11 a.m. Tuesday at Carle's facility at 1701 Curtis Road, C, and it will take about a half-hour to participate. Participants will be asked about their age, risk factors and whether they want their screening results sent to their doctors.
The screening is open to everyone, regardless of where they go for medical care, and is being held as part of a study Carle is participating in that is looking at screening methods for early detection, Eddy said.
"We want to encourage people who have any possible risk factors to come," she said.