Continuous cardiac monitoring, not just tracking resting pulse or heart rate during exercise, but monitoring the heart’s electrical signals, goes beyond the capability of simple fitness trackers. For people with arrhythmia or other cardiac conditions or for athletes in training who seek much higher than average levels of information, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) yields significant data about heart rhythm and activity. For most of us, the only time we have an ECG is when we go for a routine physical or perhaps take a stress test at a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. Typically we’re hooked via multiple wires up to a machine wheeled in on a cart. The wires connect to electrodes stuck to our upper body that read electrical signals from our heart.
Spanish startup Nuubo has developed a wearable wireless continuous ECG platform called nECG (for “new generation ECG”) for medical and sports applications. nECG does not yet have FDA clearance at this time but has obtained the CE mark for “medical uses associated with the product” in the European Union. Three components make up the nECG platform. Textile nECG, a Nuubo proprietary technology of textile with embedded electrodes, is used to make seamless garments or straps worn close to the chest. The nECG Minder wireless device plugs into the garment and records the signals from the electrodes with 2GB of onboard storage. The Minder transmits the ECG data to the nECG analysis and visualization software suite via Bluetooth. Nuubo’s software uses artificial intelligence to sort through the gathered data to find identify patterns and abnormalities.
The advantages of continuous monitoring while out and about in normal daily routines may afford significant advantages of ECG measurements taken in medical facilities. The convenience and time savings of being able to transmit recorded data also has promise for reducing healthcare costs.