Apple Watch wearers and fitness enthusiasts were ecstatic when Apple Watch Series 4 came out with a built-in electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that detects irregular heart rate. And rightfully so -- early detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib) could prevent a serious medical event.
Now, a tiny smartphone accessory from life sciences company AliveCor goes two steps further: Their $99 KardiaMobile EKG Monitor detects tachycardia (unusually high heart rate) and bradycardia (unusually low heart rate).
What does the KardiaMobile EKG do?
When the KardiaMobile device first launched, it was cleared to measure normal sinus rhythm (a regular resting heart rate) and AFib, but the two new additions make AliveCor's device the first one of its kind. The KardiaMobile is also the only personal EKG monitor that can detect AFib above 120 beats per minute and below 40 beats per minute -- cleared to do so on Tuesday by the FDA.
Tachycardia and bradycardia aren't often anything to worry about -- many people experience a low heart rate during sleep and daily stress can cause a high heart rate. But sometimes, these heart arrhythmias can be indicative of severe anxiety, heart disease, thyroid conditions or other health complications.
"No other consumer ECG device in the world can tell you more about your heart than KardiaMobile," said Ira Bahr, AliveCor CEO, in a statement. "Until today, patients have been frustrated when devices label their ECG reading as 'unclassified' or 'inconclusive.'"
AliveCor's device has the potential to reduce those unclassified and inconclusive readings. However, even AliveCor points out that your KardiaMobile EKG readings shouldn't replace conversations with your doctor. Rather, you should use the KardiaMobile readings to inform those conversations.
How can I get the KardiaMobile EKG?
You can purchase KardiaMobile on the AliveCor website for $99. However, KardiaMobile is not recommended for use with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs).
How does the KardiaMobile EKG work?
The KardiaMobile comes with a clip to attach it to the back of your smartphone. EKG readings are stored on your phone via the Kardia App (iTunes, Google Play) and you can email readings to your doctor from within the app.