A new device which lets doctors monitor a patient's heart problems through email will be launched next week.

The new electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor records the electrical activity of the heart and uses mobile phone data to send information back to doctors.

The ECGs can detect abnormal heart rhythms, damage caused by heart attacks or an enlarged heart.

Small metal electrodes are usually stuck on a patient's arms, legs and chest. These are connected by wires to an ECG machine which records electrical impulses coming from the patient's body.

ECGs are fitted to investigate complaints such as chest pains or palpitations but are also performed as part of routine tests.

Manufacturers Aerotel say that the new device is the " world's smallest and most accurate hand-held 12 lead ECG monitor".

A spokesman said that the device is fitted with a " 3G cellular module" which enables " seamless transmission of patients' recorded ECGs to a call centre or directly to the doctor's email".

He said the HeartView devices allow: " Diagnosis of cardiac symptoms, r emote monitoring of chronic heart patients, recording and transmission of an ECG to a cardiac call centre and cardiac analysis for clinical studies ."

The company will present the HeartView P12/8 Mobile device at the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona next week.