Mayo Clinic, Philips take a hike--up Mount Kilimanjaro--to learn about cardiac health

Royal Philips ($PHG) is taking to the skies with the Mayo Clinic. Philips is among a number of organizations that will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in a collaborative effort with the Mayo Clinic to study how the body reacts to high altitude. The aim is to apply that information to improve human health.

Philips will be using a collection of its technologies over the 10-day expedition, which was scheduled to begin on August 7. Philips is hoping to better understand how to detect and prevent cardiac issues. Kilimanjaro helps in this understanding, as the lack of oxygen at high altitudes is a good mimic of oxygen deprivation experienced during a cardiac event.

Philips will be using contactless monitoring technology to measure vital signs in a nonobtrusive way. Contactless monitoring uses “microblushes” on the skin to monitor heartbeats. The skin changes slightly in color when the heart beats. While the human eye can’t detect this, Philips can use contactless monitoring algorithms to calculate a pulse rate based on these changes.


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Philips will also use the CX50 xMATRIX and Lumify portable ultrasound systems to measure heart and pulmonary measurements, respectively. Lumify is an ultrasound device that is based on an app that operates on Android smart devices that have Internet and email functionality. These heart and pulmonary measurements will “provide researchers with insight on the effects of hypoxia on human physiology,” Philips said in the announcement.

Philips will also look at sleep diagnostics using the Alice NightOne wireless home sleep testing system. This will help researchers to understand how sleep quality is affected by any sleep disturbances related to reduced oxygen content in the blood.

This tech will be used with almost 35 participants on the climb, ranging in age from 25 to 65. The climb can be followed on social media with the hashtag #kiliclimb2016.

“Cardiology is one of the critical areas of focus for Philips and as such, we continue to collaborate with industry leaders like the Mayo Clinic in taking a unique approach to research, which includes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to understand how hypoxia, or lack of oxygen at high elevations, impacts people of different age groups,” said Carla Kriwet, CEO of patient care and monitoring solutions at Philips, in a statement. “As we uncover and better understand the body’s biomarkers and how the body’s mechanisms acclimate to high altitudes, we can continue to develop technologies that can make a meaningful impact in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular care.”

- here's the press release

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