Watching the rhythm of your heart is getting quite a bit easier. AliveCor, the originators of the to-go ECG smartphone market, have announced FDA clearance of the KardiaBand single-lead ECG device for the Apple Watch. The device is capable of detecting atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder that’s difficult to diagnose, and because it’s always on the wrist of the user, readings can be done at any time. It costs $199, but to receive all the services, such as unlimited recordings, automatic atrial fibrillation detection, and sharing of readings, there’s also an annual $99 subscription.
It can record up to 30 seconds of an ECG, which can be easily shared with the doctor. If an arrhythmia is detected, and mind you that not all of them are, the Kardia App on the watch will let you know, so you’ll know to make sure to send that particular recording to the doc.
AliveCor now also has something called SmartRhythm, which is an algorithm that compares the user’s heart activity with the physical activity, as measured by the accelerometer and other sensors within the watch. When the two our don’t seem to match, there may be a serious underlying condition that perhaps should be checked into via a stress test and or other means.
“This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare,” in AliveCor’s announcement said Dr. Ronald P. Karlsberg, MD FACC, of Cedars Sinai Heart Institute and UCLA’s medical school. “Today, EKGs are available only in offices and hospitals, using complex equipment, and usually only after a life threatening event, for example a stroke. With an EKG device on the wrist, AFib can be detected wherever the patient is, 24 hours a day. In randomized research trials, KardiaMobile, the first AliveCor EKG device, proved to be superior to routine care provided by physicians. Today, KardiaBand is a giant leap in personalized health care.”
Here’s a video from AliveCor showing how to use the new KardiaBand: