ALESSANDRIA — A small portable tool developed in Italy now allows doctors to treat patients with heart conditions in remote areas that don't have access to medical facilities. A 27-year-old doctor, Alessandro Faragli, and his colleague, Edoardo La Porta, a nephrologist, created the imaging device known as Impedance App.

The device measures bio-impedance or how much the body impedes the flow of electric current. While fat resists high current flow, blood doesn't restrict it as much.

"Patients with conditions like heart failure are completely dependent on hospitals to measure bio-impedance," Faragli told Italian newspaper La Stampa. "This instrument is portable, easy to use, and non-invasive."

Faragli developed the device after years of studying chronic heart failure, a condition that afflicted his father for more than a decade, he told the paper.

Impedance App, which consists of two electrodes and a small belt, does high-quality imaging within two minutes. The device rapidly processes and sends exam results and graphs to a doctor's smartphone, allowing him or her to monitor their patient's condition from a distance.

"Impedance can help doctors and patients interact more, reduce re-hospitalization rates, and ensure a higher quality of life," Faragli told the daily. "All of this reduces costs too."

During his work on a similar project for a portable electrocardiogram named D-Heart in southern Senegal, Faragli realized that portable imaging devices could save lives by reaching patients who otherwise wouldn't have access medical care.

Faragli hopes that these portable medical devices can ultimately work toward reducing patient mortality. By improving access to medicine and treatment for people in the most remote areas of the world, devices like D-Heart and Impedance App could just achieve that.

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