HeartKinetics develops solution for daily home cardiac monitoring

The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious consequences for people living with cardiovascular disease. Non-urgent and scheduled cardiac consultations have been postponed and patients with acute symptoms are concerned about attending hospital. In future, however, hospital visits for cardiac monitoring could be a thing of the past, thanks to a wearable device based on space research being developed by one of the first companies to be incubated at the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Belgium.
There are 121 million people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the US and 49 million in the EU. Congestive heart failure (CHF), which may be caused by coronary artery disease, hypertension or valvular heart disease, among others, is the most common end stage of CVD and represents up to 3% of total healthcare expenditure. Yet currently, patients may only be monitored in hospital a few times a year and in between are left uncertain and anxious.

What if these patients could easily perform a cardiac function test at home in only two minutes, saving time travelling to the hospital and receiving more frequent analysis? That is the aim of HeartKinetics, which has designed the Kinocardiograph (Kino) to fill this gap.

There are two Kino prototypes. One is an app that measures myocardial activity through a smartphone’s own motion sensors. HeartKinetics aims to have this available in the Apple and Android stores in July. The second is a medical device consisting of two units, one of which is placed on the chest and the other on the lower back. After an initial calibration by a cardiologist, patients can take measurements at home in under 45 seconds and transmit them for diagnosis via a smartphone or tablet. This provides accurate assessment of both the mechanical and electrical myocardial functions, together with hemodynamic parameters.

The Kino technology enables a patient to monitor myocardial activity at home using either the motion sensors in a smartphone or a device provided by a cardiologist, and transmit the data for diagnosis. The medical device consists of two units that measure mechanical and electrical myocardial functions, together with hemodynamic parameters.
The Kino technology enables a patient to monitor myocardial activity at home using either the motion sensors in a smartphone or a device provided by a cardiologist, and transmit the data for diagnosis. The medical device consists of two units that measure mechanical and electrical myocardial functions, together with hemodynamic parameters.

Breakthrough medicine powered by space
The majority of hospital admissions for CHF are re-admissions. Approximately 22% of people discharged from hospital with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days. As a consequence of damage to the heart, the heart loses its ability to pump effectively.

Evaluating the prognosis of heart failure usually requires trained healthcare professionals and costly equipment. Today, more than ever, we need new ways to monitor patients remotely when they are discharged from the hospital, in particular providing telemonitoring of cardiac mechanical and electrical function.

Many everyday products have been inspired by R&D innovations from space agencies around the world, with space spin-offs particularly prevalent in the health and medicine sector. HeartKinetics has developed its Kino solution using over 10 years of research on astronaut cardiac function and its deconditioning in microgravity.

Far away from a trained cardiologist, astronauts require automated and easy-to-operate tools that provide an accurate overview of their cardiac function. For the cardiologist, it is essential to access assessments of both the heart’s electrical/rhythm function, which is typically done with an electrocardiogram (ECG), and the mechanical function, which usually done with echocardiography. Although there are many ECG wearables, there is no such solution for the mechanical function assessment of the heart. The Kino was developed to fill this gap and HeartKinetics is now incubated at ESA BIC Belgium to further develop its strategy to bring the Kino to market.

Life-saving technology
The Kino is a non-invasive telemonitoring solution based on a calibrated measurement of the kinetic energy of the cardiac contraction in linear and angular dimensions. The Kino smartphone solution uses the smartphone’s accelerometers and gyroscopes sensors which, when placed on the chest, can record myocardial contraction efforts and rhythm. The Kinocardiograph portable device allows both local and global mechanical cardiac activity assessment, together with a regular ECG.

Kino shares information about a patient’s cardiac health status with all members of the multidisciplinary medical team to optimise follow-up, especially after worsening heart failure.

The Kinocardiograph device has already been used in clinical trials in the Netherlands and Belgium. Now, in response to the new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HeartKinetics has accelerated its development plan, including implementing essential security technology from Swiss company PrYv to ensure data privacy and security. A pilot study will start in July 2020, with over 500 patients in Belgium and the Netherlands using the smartphone app to help healthcare teams maintain their regular care offering in the difficult context of lockdown, while clinical teams will trial the medical device prototype at cardio consultations.

In 2017, HeartKinetics won the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) Inventor Award, with other recognition including selection for the Alpha programme at WebSummit 2019. Organisations including YesDok, Tessan, Bodyo, Altericare and Doctoranytime have all expressed an interest in Kino as a solution that could revolutionise cardiac function telediagnostics.

ABOUT ESA SPACE SOLUTIONS
ESA Space Solutions is the go-to-place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life.

Our programme is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50KEuro to 2MEuro and supports everything from space technology transfer, early stage incubation programs, feasibility studies to large-scale demonstration projects.

Spentys strives to revolutionise the orthopaedic immobilisation device industry

Interview with Louis-Philippe Broze & Florian De Boeck

What would be your two-minute elevator pitch?

At Spentys, we strive to revolutionise the orthopaedic immobilisation device industry by introducing 3D technologies. We want the industry to shift from traditional design processes to new ones which includes 3D technologies – think scanning, modelling and printing. That’s why we’ve developed our three-step solution, all centralised on a web platform. The Spentys solution allows mass-customisation of orthopaedic immobilisation devices, while considering and implementing the medical expertise of health professionals.

To make the solution accessible to the market, Spentys has developed and clinically tested 3D printed orthopaedic immobilisation devices – plasters, splints, and whatnot – on various limbs. The end results are water-resistant, airy, light, custom-made and completely recyclable devices. So all in all, way more comfort for the patient!

List three factors that make Brussels’ entrepreneurship landscape unique.

What we particularly cherish in Brussels is its diversity: it’s not a big region in terms of size compared to other major entrepreneurial hubs, but we still have access to a very diverse micro-market, where citizen and corporate needs may vary a lot. This can be explained through various factors, such as Brussels being the capital of the EU and thus welcoming people from around the globe. Or the fact that it’s a bilingual region.

It appears that Brussels attracts a lot of foreign talents. Specific to Spentys, we have been able to meet our HR needs quickly with awesome, skilled young profiles. This can be explained by Brussels’ high quality of life in and amongst its citizens.

Brussels is a medium-sized city, making it easy to create a diverse network within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Also, as an entrepreneur, you can find a broad network with all the necessary expertise quickly.

What are the three biggest challenges you faced when starting up your business?

Bureaucracy and administration can sometimes be a pain in the … As an entrepreneur, you’d like to spend your time focussing on the core of your business, and not on filling your taxes, for example.

A second major aspect when starting your business is time management: you must be able to allocate your time to meaningful tasks which will help your business grow. So, you need to learn how to identify them from other tasks.

And finally, managing a team – especially if you’ve never done it before, or there are varying opinions within your team. You must learn patience.

hub.brussels have been our entry point into Brussel’s entrepreunarial ecosystem.

How did you benefit from hub.brussels’ expertise in the conception of your business?

In various ways; the main one being the fact that we are part of lifetech.brussels, hub.brussels’ health tech cluster. This gave us the opportunity to participate in the six-month long MedTech Accelerator initiative when we first founded Spentys and showed us a global vision of what it would be like to introduce a new medical device on the EU market. hub.brussels also helped us reach public financing opportunities, through grants and convertible loans. To sum up, they have been our entry point into Brussels’ entrepreneurial ecosystem.

List three pieces of advice you would give to the budding entrepreneur.

We’re both budding entrepreneurs ourselves, since we started Spentys only two years ago. With our short experience, we can give the following points of advice:

Stay focussed on one main goal and the necessary steps to achieve them. You can pivot, but always make sure to consult with experts beforehand.

Do not underestimate the time required to raise funds, and always raise more than you need. This will give you more time for the next round of negotiation.

And finally, you must learn to listen to the people around you and be open to criticism, even if it’s “your” start-up. Listen and turn others’ remarks and comments into constructive criticism.

SPENTYS
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www.spentys.com
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