When did you have your last electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG? If you’ve ever had one, chances are the test involved attaching up to 10 electrodes to your limbs and chest. Once the electrodes are attached securely, the test reads electrical and muscular activity for a 10 second period. The resulting report shows the magnitude and direction of the heart’s electrical depolarization during the cardiac cycle. Healthcare professionals use the test to measure heart rate and rhythm and to look for cardiac arrhythmia, tachycardia, clogged arteries, ventricular hypertrophy, pericarditis, and of course the biggie, a heart attack. The ECG test itself is fast and painless, though hooking you up with the electrodes that connect to the machine is cumbersome and takes a bit of time.
Visiomed’s BewellConnect line of portable Health Tech devices now includes MyECG, which is a handheld device you can use to test yourself. MyECG measures 5.1″ by 1.1″ by 0.6″ and weighs just 1.6 ounces (without the two required AAA batteries). So it’s small and light. To use MyECG, you turn it on, hold it in two hands with a thumb on each sensor, and in 30 seconds it produces the test result. The device has on-board storage for 20 tests and the results can be displayed on the built-in OLED display. MyECG works with the BewellConnect smartphone or tablet personal health tracking app (available for most iOS and Android devices) and a sub-app specifically for MyECG. The results are synched automatically with the connected device for you to read or to show or send to health care professionals. While it might be a good idea to store some baseline results when you feel just fine, the time to use MyECG would be when you experience symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, and heart palpitations. Note that the results of the MyECG are not the same as the multi-lead ECG that you would get in a clinical setting; it’s only a “single lead” device, and cannot provide as much detail about how different parts of your heart are performing.
Like other BewellConnect personal Health Tech devices, several of which we have written about previously such as MyGluco and MyTensio, MyECG has CE approval for use in Europe and also has FDA clearance as a 510 device. MyECG and the rest of the BewellConnect family is scheduled for release to market at the end of Q1 2016.
We’ve written before about the current level of physician skepticism of personal health tech devices and you can expect that if you have an incident you’ll be hooked up to hospital ECG machine once you get there. Being able to hand the MyECG with its onboard test results to EMTs might save a little time by giving them a quick heads up. If you go to the expense (expected price nearly $400 U.S.) of buying your own McECG and pairing it with a smartphone or tablet, chances are you might learn a bit about reading the results yourself, although of course you should never make medical decisions for yourself or for a family member or friend unless you’re a trained professional. The range of specific Health Tech devices coming to market, and especially the BewellConnect family of devices which work in concert with an overall smartphone and tablet app for recording, monitoring, and storing personal health data, is a clear indication of the future of personal Heath Tech.