AliveCor Is Now Kardia and It Works Well At Identifying Atrial Fibrillation At Home And In Office

I’ve been using the AliveCor Mobile ECG App/Device to record my patients’ heart rhythm in my office for about 6 months now.

It has for the most part taken the place of the more elaborate, but cumbersome and time-consuming, 12-lead ECG in patients where heart rhythm is my only concern.

I’ve also convinced about a dozen of my patients who have intermitent atrial fibrillation to obtain the device and they are actively using it to monitor at home their heart rhythm. Through the AliveCor website, I can view their recordings and see what their heart rhythm is doing when they have symptoms.

Last week, a patient of mine (I’ll call her Suzy) who has had significant prolonged episodes of atrial fibrillation associated with heart failure (but cannot tell when she is in or out of rhythm) notified me that her device was interpreting her rhythm as atrial fibrillation. She had not had any symptoms, but was making  daily recordings for surveillance.

Suzy called our office and we brought her in the next day and confirmed with a 12-lead ECG that she was indeed in atrial fibrillation with a heart rate of 120 beats per minute.

It’s pretty amazing that this little, inexpensive device can now replace expensive and elaborate long term cardiac monitors for many of my patients.

AliveCor Rebrands Itself to Kardia


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 5.38.34 AM
I’ve noticed that AliveCor has rebranded itself as Kardia. If you go to http://www.alivecor.com now you see the fourth generation device along with promotion of a “Kardia band” which apparently works with an Apple Watch to record your ECG.

The Kardia band is not available for purchase at this time but if and when I can get one, it might motivate me to purchase an Apple watch.

When I purchased my AliveCor device in June, 2015 it cost $74.99 from Amazon.com. The newer version is priced at $99 at both AliveCor and Amazon websites. I’m told by Dr. David Albert of AliveCor that this “fourth generation” version is more accurate, so I have purchased it to see if it reduces the problem of occasional bad recordings.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 5.38.10 AM

You can see in this picture from the website that the formerly flat metal electrodes now have bumps. Dr. Albert says these result in more surface area for better contact with skin. We will see.

The Value of Early Detection Of Atrial Fibrillation

Meanwhile, I will be doing an electrical cardioversion (shocking or resetting the heart) on Suzy to get her back to normal sinus rhythm.  If we had not detected the asymptomatic onset of her rapid atrial fibrillation using the AliveCor/Kardia device, chances are we wouldn’t have known about it until her heart muscle weakened again and she became short of breath from heart failure.

I have Suzy on blood thinners to lower her risk of stroke associated with her Afib but for my patients who are not on blood thinners, detection of silent or asymptomatic AFib is even more important.

-Affibly yours,

-ACP

p.s. The skeptician in me feels this post borders on infomercialese.

Let me make it clear that I have no connection with the company formerly known as AliveCor and have received nothing from them (not even free test devices or Apple Watch Kardia Bands!) but I’m just really excited about the device and how it can help my patients (oh, please excuse me, this really sounds like marketing) “empower” themselves to take control of their heart rhythm.

In the course of writing this, I’ve discovered an academic paper evaluating 13 ECG smart phone type ECG devices so there are other devices you could try. I haven’t had the time or resources to evaluate them.

5 thoughts on “AliveCor Is Now Kardia and It Works Well At Identifying Atrial Fibrillation At Home And In Office”

  1. Your cred for these things is very high for the simple reason that most of your posts are so skeptical.

  2. I have an Alivecor device and have had it for about a year. I have had afib in the past and if I think I am in afib, I just send a reading to Dr. Pearson. He lets me know if I need to see him. Very useful device.

  3. I stumbled into your site while researching the Kardia watch band, this post was really helpful (about Kardia in general), thank you. I have POTS, a month ago I bought an apple watch and the app “HeartWatch” to better monitor my POTS. Today I have been researching other apps and tools to make sure there is nothing else I should try, which is how I ended up researching Kardia. If you are finding Kardia useful for some patients I think that you would also find the Apple Watch and HeartWatch to be amazingly useful. I have found my Doctors don’t seem that interested in what I am trying to show them until I get my husband to pull out his phone and show his stats compared to mine and then they suddenly start to understand what a powerful visual queue just looking at the summary can be. I have worn holter monitors many times over the years and the data has never been nearly so meaningful as what comes out of the apple watch “activity” ap combined with the HeartWatch ap (which I think was $2.99, best $2.99 I have ever spent!). Now I sound like an ad. But if you haven’t looked at the other heart monitoring aspects of the apple watch, and some of the apps that are available, then you should. I can’t make much sense of an App called Cardiogram, but they seem to be researching the watch’s potential for Atrial Fibrillation detection. Now for me to decide whether to import a band to Australia…

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