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AliveCor’s FDA-cleared 6-lead ECG aims to detect more than the Apple Watch

The KardiaMobile 6L should better detect cardiovascular diseases, is available in June.

The KardiaMobile 6L requires contacts on both fingers, plus a knee or ankle.

Consumer ECG (electrocardiogram) devices, like the Apple Watch Series 4, are one-lead, and can only test for a particular range of heart arrhythmias. But AliveCor's newest mobile ECG device that just gained FDA clearance could potentially do a lot more.

The $150 iOS and Android-compatible KardiaMobile 6L is the only consumer-sold six-lead ECG (other portable devices, like AliveCor's nearly identical-looking but cheaper KardiaMobile, can only record one lead). It can record heart activity on six different leads at once (I, II, II, aVL, aVR and aVF). It can detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), bradycardia (abnormally low heart rate) and tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate), but promises to also detect other arrhythmias that could indicate heart disease.

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AliveCor CEO Ira Bahr said in a statement in AliveCor's press release, "KardiaMobile 6L is the most clinically valuable personal ECG ever created, and another significant step in AliveCor's march to making heart care more convenient, more accessible, and less expensive than ever before."


The chart of how the six leads record heart activity.


The little device has three electrodes, and requires thumbs from each hand to make contact, as well as an ankle or knee on the bottom. The completion of all of those contact points allows a 30-second timed reading that can be shared with a doctor afterward.

AliveCor also made the first Apple Watch ECG watch strap, a year before Apple included ECG on the watch itself.

A six-lead ECG should offer a considerable step up in awareness of potential cardiovascular conditions, although it's still not the same as a 12-lead ECG like you'd get from a cardiologist. It'll be available in June, with preorders available now in the US.