AMULET – a project that could revolutionise care for heart failure patients

Upon leaving hospital the patient has to visit the cardiologist regularly. However, specialists are scarce and the queues at clinics are long. This problem can be solved by modern telemedicine. The patient will go to a nurse, the nurse will carry out advanced tests and the results will reach the cardiologist via the Internet. The specialist will assess the patient's condition and choose the best course of treatment on an ongoing basis.

“We are glad that such a solution, created by a consortium led by military medics and scientists, has been recognised under the programme of the National Centre for Research and Development” – says prof. Wojciech Falkowski, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Defence.

Under the third edition of the competition of the strategic research and development programme “Prevention and treatment of diseases of civilisation” STRATEGMED, 82 applications competed for co-financing. 62 of them were positively evaluated by the competition committee, but only 9 were recommended for funding.

Military project in the top three

“It is worth noting that our project was among the three highest rated. We are the leader of a consortium that also includes the: Military University of Technology, 4th Military Clinical Hospital with Policlinic SP ZOZ in Wrocław, the Medical University of Gdańsk, the Wrocław Medical University  and the InfoSCAN SA company” – specifies gen. bryg. prof. dr hab. n. med. Grzegorz Gielerak, Director of the WIM.

The total cost of the project is over PLN 13 million, of which the National Centre for Research and Development will co-finance PLN 12.7 million.

Heart failure is a lifestyle disease that causes high mortality, poor quality of life and the need for frequent hospital stays. The number of such patients is constantly growing. When they leave hospital, they need to receive ongoing care from a specialist cardiologist. While waiting long times to see a doctor, their condition often worsens, resulting in the need for another quick referral to hospital. In some cases, an exacerbation of the disease is fatal.

“Even the best hospital care cannot ensure the safety of such patients if they do not undergo regular cardiological assessment after being discharged” – explains the WIM director.

Shorten queues, provide better treatment

The objective of the “Amulet” project is to create a system of care for patients with heart failure based on the use of modern methods of non-invasive haemodynamic assessment and telemedicine. “Clinical assessment of patients will be enhanced by automatic evaluation of heart rate, blood pressure, left ventricular ejection volume, chest and whole body hydration status, among other things. The use of the system will enable an adequate therapeutic decision to be taken remotely by a specialist” –  claims ppłk dr n. med. Paweł Krzesiński, a cardiologist at the WIM.

In simple terms, the patient will be seen by a nurse who will carry out the test and the results will be sent to a cardiologist working at the WIM or at another facility covered by the “Amulet” project. The doctor will analyse the data and review the treatment, adjust doses of medication accordingly, and – depending on needs – set a date for the next follow-up visit with the nurse.

A device to monitor patients at home will also be developed under the project. It will be designed for patients who are most at risk from heart failure.

“We expect that the implementation of the proposed model will provide improved access to specialist care, early diagnosis of disease exacerbations and optimised treatment. In turn, this will contribute to prolonging patients' lives. Patients will have a sense of continuous care, will become more familiar with the nature of their disease, and will not end up in hospital with successive exacerbations. This is how the military health service contributes to improved quality of life of Poles” – concludes prof. Wojciech Fałkowski.