The skeptical cardiologist has been testing out a unique and ingenious device which allows the simultaneous measurement of two key cardiovascular parameters: blood pressure and heart rhythm. Omron partnered with AliveCor to create the Complete which is the first combination blood pressure monitor and electrocardiogram monitor.
Given that Alivecor’s Kardia Mobile ECG device is capable of accurately identifying atrial fibrillation, the Complete offers patients the ability to monitor for the two biggest treatable risk factors for stroke: atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
I have evaluated the Complete in both office and home settings and find it to be easy to use and highly reliable.
The main component of Complete is an attractive unit that measures 9 by 4 by 5 inches, weighs a little over a pound and combines the blood pressure monitor and the AliveCor sensors. It ships with a wide-range D-ring BP cuff which fits 9 to 17-inch upper arms and runs on 4 AA batteries.
Recording Blood Pressure and ECG
You can easily record just blood pressure using the device right out of the box (after inserting the included 4 AA batteries.) However, the full capabilities of the device are realized in conjunction with Omron’s Connect US/CAN Smartphone app which can be downloaded for free. Once paired with the app, the device can record and transfer ECGs along with blood pressure measurements to the app and the cloud.
The process of recording a single-lead ECG on the Complete is nearly identical to the process when using the AliveCor Kardia mobile ECG device except that there are four sensors for Complete versus the two sensors on the Kardia device.
After opening the Omron app on your smartphone and pressing the “Record BP and EKG” button, you place the smartphone horizontally on the Complete cradle and put your hands on the sensors with thumbs on the tops sensors and 2-3 fingers on the lateral sensors as illustrated below.
Once the device senses a good signal the ECG recording will automatically begin and continue for 30 seconds. It’s important to stay very still and quiet during this time to optimize the recording quality.
Like the Kardia device if your fingers are too dry, electrical contact may be suboptimal. This can be fixed by wetting your fingers with an alcohol wipe, a spray from a sanitizer bottle or just water from the tap. See my discussion on this here.
I found the 4 sensors plus the stability of the device the sensors reside in made for a higher percentage of high-quality ECG recordings on the Complete versus the smaller Kardia device. Stability on the Kardia device is a particular issue for the elderly and we were able to consistently obtain good quality ECG recordings in my office on the frail and elderly with the Complete.
The PDF of the ECG can be emailed to yourself for storage or to your physician for his review. With a Premium plan upgrade, you can store the ECGS online or utilize KardiaPro which shares your BP and ECG data through the cloud with your physician.
Blood Pressure Plus ECG
You can choose to record BP and ECG separately or at the same time. To record both, place the BP cuff on your upper arm, push the start/stop button and then put your fingers on the ECG sensors. While the ECG is recording, the BP cuff inflates and obtains the BP measurement.
As always when taking BP it is important to make sure the cuff is at the level of the heart.
Using KardiaPro Online Dashboard With Complete
Many of my patients have both atrial fibrillation and hypertension. For them, the KardiaPro dashboard provides a unique online monitoring system that allows me to view both their blood pressure recordings and their ECG recordings in one spot.
Omron’s Complete now simplifies and consolidates the process of recording BP and ECG for such patients. A typical KardiaPro report from one of my combined AF and hypertensive patients appears below.
Where Does Complete Fit In The Home Monitoring Universe?
I see Complete serving in two important areas.
The first is as a consolidated unit for patients with atrial fibrillation and hypertension. Complete provides an easy, quick, and stable method for these patients to home monitor their BPs and their rhythm.
The second area is in physician offices. The ability to record a high quality, medical-grade ECG simultaneously with blood pressure will improve the physician’s ability to screen for hypertension and rhythm abnormalities in an efficient manner.
N.B. Looking at the Omron website today I note that Complete is selling for $159.99, a 20% discount.