Over the past few years, the wearable electronics market has been flooded with all sorts of fitness trackers and heart rate monitors that allow you to synchronize heart rate data with a smartphone. Those who are not averse to overpaying for style and marketing «goodies» that are not the most suitable in real life choose devices like the Jawbone UP3; those who want to get a high-quality fitness tracker with a heart rate monitor and basic functions for a minimal fee do not hesitate to purchase Xiaomi Mi Band 1S. And if finances allow you to take the Jawbone UP3, the appearance of the device is not particularly worrying, and the accuracy of measurements is of particular concern, then the proven Mio Alpha 2 will probably be the best option.
But what if a simple heart rate monitor is not enough and more detailed data on the activity of the heart is needed — especially if there are problems with it? After all, the same Mio Alpha is unlikely to tell about the presence of its owner, say, atrial fibrillation.
AliveCor Mobile ECG
An interesting solution is offered by the American company AliveCor. She claims to have developed a simple and innovative device to take an ECG and get a diagnosis right on your iOS device or Android smartphone in just 30 seconds. The skepticism in the reader’s head is likely to be dispelled by the fact that AliveCor Mobile ECG has been clinically tested and approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), as well as certified in the European Union. In addition, it has received numerous positive reviews from experts.
AliveCor Mobile ECG with case
It is important to note that in a medical institution, when recording an ECG, as a rule, 12 leads are used, and in this sense, a single-channel AliveCor Mobile ECG will certainly not replace a doctor. Nevertheless, it will serve well for all those who have heart problems. But first things first.
AliveCor Mobile ECG has been on the market for several years. In the review, we will consider the latest, third generation of the gadget, which has become cheaper and more compact than previous models. This gadget can simply be stuck to the back of a smartphone, iPod Touch or tablet (fortunately, the thickness here is only a few millimeters), but there is also an option in the form factor of a smartphone case; this one costs $10 more — $85 versus $75. The case itself can always be purchased separately. In any case, the user does not burden himself with carrying an additional gadget on his wrist or in his pocket, or on his chest.
AliveCor Mobile ECG comes in a small and nice-looking box that contains nothing extra. In this case, we have the device itself plus a rough plastic case. For some reason, the manual was not found in the kit (it really is nothing superfluous), but it is in the application and on the website.
On the front side of the AliveCor Mobile ECG is a pair of large electrodes, which, in fact, are responsible for monitoring cardiac activity. By the way, information is transmitted not via Bluetooth, but by means of ultrasonic waves, which are captured by the microphone of the smartphone. This option greatly facilitates the use of the device, not to mention the energy efficiency of such a solution. According to the manufacturer, a CR2016 battery on average holds a charge for two (!) years. This is a common removable lithium battery that powers many wristwatches.
So, we put on a case on an old but reliable iPhone 5 (not advertising!) And go to the App Store. And here we are in for an unpleasant surprise. AliveCor is only available for iTunes accounts in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, India, and Australia. However, it is easy to create an American account in addition to Russian and use them on your smartphone at the same time. After downloading the program, we will be asked to register, provide our data (sex, age, weight and height, physical activity, and others) and make a test electrocardiogram so that a qualified doctor can check it — free of charge and directly in the application. Its analysis will allow AliveCor to be more accurate in the future. You will have to wait for the result for several hours or even a day, and during this period you will not be able to use the application. However, after that, the need for such checks disappears, and Alivecor does its job in a matter of seconds. As for the content of the analysis, made, by the way, by AliveCor’s partner, CompuMed, it looks like this:
In order to make an ECG, you just need to launch the program and bring the smartphone to a horizontal position (the home button should be on the right), leaning against the electrodes with the fingers of both hands. Everybody. You don’t even need to press anything. There are also alternative options for the location of the Mobile ECG: the smartphone can be leaned against the chest or placed on the left knee. The program will automatically start capturing data, after which it will immediately issue a brief conclusion. You can manually add symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, etc.), recent activity or a small note to it. All this information can be sent to a US-certified cardiologist for verification — again, right through the application. Only this time you have to pay extra. For $ 12, an ECG will be checked by a doctor of medicine with at least twelve years of experience, and he will also write recommendations. If you pay $5, the data will be sent to a laboratory assistant who will give a preliminary assessment of the condition without recommendations, but will do the job within 30 minutes (or within 24 hours if you fork out only $2). Of course, it is possible to print the ECG, email it to your doctor, or save it as a PDF. All ECGs are stored as a list in the «Journal» section. The program can store the data of several people at once. To do this, after taking an ECG, you only need to indicate who exactly did it — the “patient” registered in the application or someone else.
Summing up, it is worth saying that AliveCor Mobile ECG, of course, will not replace a doctor — and the company itself honestly warns about this — but it will greatly simplify life for those who have heart problems. For people who are far from medicine, the companion application will explain in simple words (albeit in English) what exactly is wrong with their heart, and will also notify them of the need to urgently see a doctor. In addition, all recorded data can somehow be shown to your cardiologist so that he can track the patient’s condition.
In general, AliveСor Mobile ECG left the impression of an innovative and really useful gadget, which, among other things, is outrageously easy to use. It is not surprising that for many people it has already become an indispensable accessory in everyday life. AliveCor Mobile ECG is not officially sold in Russia, but no one forbids ordering it on ebay. Let me remind you that the gadget is estimated by the manufacturer at $75.