Problem Statement

Individuals at risk for Cardiovascular Disease need better tools to confidently recognize and report symptoms.  

CardioVigi Logo with Heart
Cardio Vigi Logo

Research Focus


CardioVigi was inspired by the untimely loss of my grandfather, Ppski, to an unexpected heart attack.  Based on Popski’s story, I imagined a device capable of rapidly detecting a heart attack and informing first responders. 

Early Design Concept

During a cardiovascular event, proteins indicative heart damage increase in number.  Cardiovigi could detect high levels of these proteins, then send alerts to user, paramedics and family.  The user would then receive medical attention from first responders alerted by Cardiovigi. 

Ideated (Bio)Tech Features of CardioVigi

  • Biomarker Based
  • Medically Designated
  • Simple Technology
  • Well Connected
Tori DeStefano presenting poster at 2022 Milstein Expo
Tori DeStefano presenting poster at 2022 Milstein Expo

As part of my Junior Project, I connected with Cornell TechProfessor Rajalakshmi Nandakumar to discuss next steps for CardioVigi. Professor Nandakumar works in the mobile health space and was a part of the team that developed ApneaApp, a now licensed sleep apnea detection app.

Professor Nandakumar advised me about the risk of false positives and encouraged me to consider other possible outcomes if an event is detected. Alternative Detection Outcomes:

  • Delay emergency call
  • Call emergency contact instead

Next Steps


Microneedle-mediated protein detection technology is a promising and not yet clinically utilized resource, but may not be the best choice for rapid detection of myocardial infarction.


My goal in creating CardioVigi was to prevent future tragedies due to myocardial infarctions, but the biomedical technology behind the device might be better suited for a different disease.

Building the Team

Through discussions with Professor Nandakumar and Cornell Entrepreneurship mentors, it is clear that one of the next steps is to grow my team.  I am currently seeking Physician and Engineer members for the CardioVigi team.

Physician Feedback

With Professor Nandakumar’s help, I was able to get physician feedback on my early concept of CardioVigi.  This Weill Cornell physician suggested I look into alternative cardiac biomarkers and/or cardiovascular indications to ensure CardioVigi can improve patient outcomes as I imagined.

Summer Work

This summer, I will be working with Rev: Ithaca Startup Works to prototype CardioVigi.  As a member of the accelerator, I hope to: 

  • Assess device sensitivity in vitro 
  • Learn about patents and IP
  • Prepare business model for investors

Milstein Student