After seeing one too many heart attack survivors return to bad habits after leaving hospital, Doctor Matais Yudi wanted to find a way to help them maintain heart health and a healthy lifestyle.

He’s the brains behind free mobile application CardiacMate which not only tracks patients’ recovery and heart health but can be used as a prevention tool.

“In an era where prevention is better than cure I think we need to take responsibility against looking after patients more holistically for longer periods of time,” Dr Yudi said.

Health practitioner in your pocket

The Austin Health physician claims the app is the most “comprehensive, interactive and personalised cardiac prevention program available”.

“They become accountable to us and we’re really looking after them in return,” Dr Yudi said

Some of its features include:

  •  Heart age calculator. Determines the biological age of your heart and compares it to a healthy person of the same age
  •  Heart health tracker. The app will create your cardiac risk profile and notify you when you’re on target, at high risk or at a suboptimal level
  •  Diet tracker. You can upload photos of the food you eat so doctors can analyse your intake and give you dietary advice
  •  Built-in messaging service. People with the app can private message the CardiacMate team with questions about heart health for professional support during rehabilitation
  •  Activity tracker. Doctors track physical activity levels and provide interactive feedback and goal setting.

Dr Yudi says the food snapshot tool helps to get an accurate account of what patients are consuming each day.

“They just take a picture. They upload it and we’re able to see what they’re eating, we’re able to give them some feedback. We make it very simple,” he said.

Heart health technology still being trialled

CardiacMate is still in a trial phase that’s being funded by the Heart Foundation and Victorian Government.

The team working on it has a long-term goal of reducing “the recurrence of cardiac problems for people who have suffered heart attacks by providing them with ongoing support and guidance when they return home from hospital”.

“We know heart attacks are preventable through simple lifestyle modifications and better medical therapy,” Dr Yudi said.

“Most patients start off with good intentions but, unfortunately, for many, life gets in the way and they slip back to their old unhealthy habits.”

Heart attack survivor loses more than 10 kilograms

Gary McQuiggan told 9 News  he lost 11 kilograms and also lowered his cholesterol after downloading the app.

“I knew that I had to change my habits but it was a matter of doing something about it,” he said.

“I never ate a lot of junk food but I ate too much. This is one of the things the program really helped me do was reduce my portion sizes.

“Knowing that someone is going to be analysing the food you put on your plate definitely influences what you choose to eat.”

Mr McQuiggan says being accountable to someone was key to adjusting his lifestyle.

“I used to play a lot of sport when I was younger but as I got older I became less active. Now I’m walking 75kms a week and I feel guilty if I don’t get out there,” he said.

Preliminary results of the app trial will be published in February 2017.