A COUNCIL worker has praised an innovative smartphone app which allows her to check her heartrate.

Josephine Baldock is encouraging other to take part in NHS research after the heart monitor app helped her reduce stress levels and prevent palpitations.

The 65-year-old registrar was offered the chance to take part in the study after visiting the Royal Berkshire Hospital for palpitations in July.

Palpitations are heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable and can be caused by medications, heart conditions and emotional triggers such as stress.

The mother-of-two from Charvil said: “I was very anxious because it happened while I was in bed, just waking up. I was not doing anything exertive at all.

“I just got up and thought something was not quite right so I came straight into casualty at the Royal Berks.

“I wanted to take part in research because I had never experienced anything like that before. I thought if that helps to find out what it is, then it is crazy not to.”

Ms Baldock returned to the hospital for a heart scan after two weeks. It revealed no abnormalities and she realised stress was causing her palpitations.

She decided to change her hours to part-time with Reading Borough Council and has since been ice skating, cycling and has also purchased a rowing machine.

The Investigation of Palpitations in the Emergency Department (IPED) study looked at whether a small device connected to a smartphone could help monitor heartbeats and reduce the risk of further complications.

Dr Liza Keating, the principal investigator for the study, added: “The device used in IPED can help patients because it is possible that any abnormality can be detected earlier than might be the case without using it.

"This can also help save the NHS time and money by reducing the number of appointments patients book at their GP practice.

“On the whole the patients have been very keen to take part in the study. In fact, because this is a randomised study, half of the patients have been disappointed not to have been offered the device.”