A revolutionary new app that gives a “heart health check” in 60 seconds using only a smart phone camera could ultimately replace the currently used echocardiography, according to a new paper published recently.

By holding the phone up against a patient’s neck for one minute, the technology measures the tiny amount of displacement in the skin of the neck as the blood passes through the carotid artery. This measure can then be used to calculate the blood flow to the heart.

The app utilises the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), a measure that is well known and commonly used amongst doctors for diagnosis. The camera on a smart phone is used to non-invasively measure the displacement in the skin of the neck to infer the LVEF, which represents the how much blood is pumped out of the heart with each beat.

Mory Gharib, senior author for the paper published on this research from the Caltech, Huntington Medical Research Institute told the Daily Mail that the technology has the potential to dramatically change the screening and monitoring of heart disease throughout the world.

The gold standard for measuring LVEF is a MRI, but this is an expensive way of diagnosing any issues. Most commonly, an echocardiography, which needs a trained technician and a 45 minute ultrasound procedure, is used to measure the LVEF.

The output from the clinical trials for this smart phone technology were compared with the MRI gold standard measurements and found to be very similar.