Apple just unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4 with support for ECG readings, and now accessory maker AliveCor has announced its own electrocardiogram reader. The company, which has made several iPhone health accessories in the past, says its ECG reader will have 6 leads, compared to the 1 lead Apple Watch.
AliveCor already offers the first FDA-approved EKG reader for Apple Watch with its Kardiaband system, and a new study shows how that hardware may be capable of even more medical achievements.
A new Cleveland Clinic Study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session reveals that AliveCor’s EKG system can be used to detect a condition called hyperkalemia.
AliveCor, maker of the iPhone-compatible Mobile ECG cardiac monitoring accessory (reviewed here), has unveiled a new Apple Watch version that can be worn as a wrist band. The tentatively-titled Apple Watch ECG goes beyond the heart rate sensor built into the Apple Watch, adding a two-electrode electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor directly into a flexible wristband similar in appearance to Apple’s Sport Band.
Combined with a native watchOS 2 app, the Apple Watch ECG can graph the wearer’s heart beat over extended periods of time, as well as recording heart activity and voice annotations (“I feel like my heart just skipped a beat”) simultaneously, a feature not found on the iPhone version. Additionally, thanks to the new accessory’s guaranteed position on the wrist, it “may be able to detect an upcoming event using continuous monitoring,” AliveCor notes. Like the iPhone version, AliveCor’s Apple Watch app will also be able to send annotated ECG readings directly to a technician or doctor for interpretation.
Rather than connecting to the Apple Watch using Bluetooth or the Watch’s hidden data port, Apple Watch ECG uses the same ultrasonic technology as the iPhone accessory, leveraging the Watch’s microphone to receive ECG data transmissions. This reduces the battery-powered accessory’s power consumption by 92% versus Bluetooth, while offering superior data bandwidth. Pending FDA approval, the Apple Watch ECG is currently planned for a 2016 release, and expected to sell for around $199. A video of the new wristband accessory in action is below…
Health accessories for iPhones, iPads, and iPods have become more numerous and diverse over the years, evolving from Apple’s early Nike+ run sensors to heart rate monitors, increasingly complex Wi-Fi scales with body fat and ambient room sensors, blood pressure cuff docks… and even Bluetooth toothbrushes. Some health accessories are undeniably useful, but others raise the question “why?” — why pay more to see my weight on an iPhone rather than the scale’s built-in screen? Why track daily tooth brushing, body fat percentages, or the humidity of one’s bathroom? People survived for thousands of years without charting every seemingly minor blip on their personal radars.
My perspective changed last month when my wife was diagnosed with a serious cardiac condition. One of those “seemingly minor blips” that can now be constantly monitored is your heartbeat, and when something’s wrong with your heart, advance knowledge literally makes the difference between living or dying. As it turns out, a San Francisco-based company named AliveCor is now on its third-generation version of an iPhone accessory that helps people with cardiac conditions. The AliveCor Mobile ECG ($75) is an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that can record and share your heartbeat directly from your iPhone. Measuring roughly 3.2″ by 1.3″ by 0.2″, Mobile EGC can self-attach to your iPhone’s back, or integrate with a bundled custom iPhone 6/6s case for only $80 (there’s an iPhone 5/5s case, too). Given my family’s sudden need for quick access to ECG data, keeping it with an iPhone makes sense, as this is an accessory we’ll want to have on hand whenever it may be needed…