Heart Rate

About one out of every four adults over the age of 40 develop atrial fibrillation (AFib). This irregular heartbeat puts the individual at increased risk of stroke or other complications, but the condition can be difficult to diagnose as it can be intermittent and patients may not even be aware of the symptoms when it occurs. The problem is that these episodes must be caught by a heart monitor so that a cardiologist or physician can confirm the problem. This requires an electrocardiogram (ECG) and the good fortune of being able to capture an event when it happens.

The solution just became a lot easier, thanks to a company named AliveCor. As announced in a recent press release, their Heart Monitor product has received FDA approval. Specifically, the FDA has given the okay to an algorithm in the system’s software that automatically identifies AFib episodes in real-time. The data is recorded and can be shared with a physician or cardiologist to confirm the diagnosis. The application also has the ability to let a health care provider add the results to a patient’s electronic health records (EHR), which is become a standard feature in most medical and clinical organizations.

The system relies on a small pad that attaches to a smartphone. You can then either touch the pad with your fingertips, or rest it on your chest. It measures, records, and can transfer data about your heartbeats. Clinical studies have shown that this single lead device is as accurate as a standard ECG. The system is available for both iOS and Android devices. It does not require a prescription and sells for $199.