A NEW computer tablet application to measure the vital signs of heart failure sufferers has been praised by patients in a clinical trial.

The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre is testing a new system which allows doctors to constantly check heart failure patients’ weight, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and heart rate.

Heart failure, unlike heart attacks or cardiac arrests, means that the heart muscle is not able to pump blood around the body quickly enough.

After being discharged, patients are given a set of digital weighing scales and blood pressure monitor which is attached wirelessly to a computer tablet.

The tablet then records the results and sends them directly to a database that can be immediately accessed by a patient’s doctor.

Kidlington resident Fliss Emptage was diagnosed with heart failure in 2011 and is taking part in the study.

As a result of the condition she had to retire as a criminal researcher for Thames Valley Police early, and she said being able to easily keep an eye on her health was important.

The 58-year-old said: “My condition means that I get tired very quickly, I become exhausted after walking up a flight of stairs.

“It’s also made me very worried about my health in general. I’m constantly concerned about how I live my life.”

The trial, which has run since late last year, has received 93 per cent patient satisfaction from 52 patients who took a study questionnaire.

About 200 patients have been involved in the trial so far and it will continue to be run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust for another 18 months.

As well as informing the doctor and highlighting any concerning weight loss or heart rate results, the computer tablet allows patients to monitor their own progress.

Developers have also said that the app is user-friendly for older patients.

Fifield resident June Beaumont-Hare was diagnosed with heart failure in January 2013.

Although the 86-year-old admits to being a “new girl” to modern technology, she said that the equipment was “very easy”.

The retired apothecary dispenser said: “I think it’s a wonderful idea, especially in rural areas.

“My husband and I, we’re lucky as we can still drive to appointments, but a lot of other people can’t drive and public transport in rural areas is appalling.

“The device is a brilliant idea as your doctor can immediately access the information.”

The grandmother-of-six of six added: “It is reassuring that you are able to view your own results, but my thoughts are that it is going to make a huge difference to older people in rural communities.

“The fact that they will have this digital connection to their doctor is important.”