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Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...


"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

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Dr. Wilber Su,
Cavanaugh Heart Center, 
Phoenix, AZ

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


Review: CONTEC Handheld Portable ECG Heart Rate Monitor (PM10)

Tim Zhang from Contec Medical Systems CO., LTD, offered us a Contec Handheld Portable ECG Heart Rate Monitor, PM10, to try for ourselves hoping we would add it to our reviews of other similar units.

Contec PM10/EMAY Ltd EMG-10

The Contec PM10, an FDA Certified device, is also sold as the EMAY Ltd EMG-10. Both handheld portable ECG heart rate monitors are about $79 on Amazon.com. The PM10 is a small 4 oz. unit that can track a single channel ECG waveform. You can observe the scan live, then download the recordings (up to 30) to your computer or smartphone for review and print to share with your doctor. It claims to detect up to 12 cardiac conditions. I don’t have A-Fib anymore (thank goodness), so I wasn’t able to test while in A-Fib.

The user guide’s small size, tiny printing and wording leaves a lot to be desired. (Note: You can find the guide on the internet and download in a normal full-size page layout.)

Easy to Record an ECG, But Requires Software to Review

To charge the PM10 battery: Use the provided micro USB cable to connect the unit to a USB port on your computer. While charging, you’ll see a faint blinking blue light beneath the white plastic at right top front of the curved end.

Taking a scan (no cable or smartphone needed): To turn on, press the blue button (the only button on the unit) and hold down for 3-4 seconds and you’ll hear a beep (it turns off automatically). You’ll notice the metal contacts are sizeable on this relatively small device.

Measurement positions of Contec PM10 at A-Fib.com

Measurement positions of Contec PM10

Hold the unit as shown in the drawings (between both hands, or hold with one hand and the unit on your chest.) You can watch the unit capture your heart beats. It takes a few seconds for the waveform to stabilize, then start recording for a 10 sec measurement. (There’s a 10 sec countdown on the screen). It displays your heart rate as well.

Summary screen: When completed, the ECG scan is replaced with a summary screen with its best guess about the recording. Examples: No abnormal, Bradycardia, Missed beat. You can’t review the recording on the unit. You must download to software on your computer or smartphone.

Contec PHMS App or Software

The PM10 connects by Bluetooth or USB cable to a smartphone phone or computer. You’ll want to install the app or software so you can download your scans for review or printing. The PHMS app can be found on iTunes and Google Play.

Download screen opens first

For a computer, you can download the PHMS software from the Contecmed.com download page or the EMAY Ltd download page (I found EMAY easier and faster).

Reviewing your recordings: On my laptop I connected to the PM10 just like when I charged the battery. (The first time you might want to open the software, then connect the cable and the PM10.)

Manage tab with downloaded scans

The ‘Download’ tab opens first. Press the ‘Start new search’ and the software displays a list of scans from your PM10. Press the button ‘Download all’. Then switch to the ‘Manage’ tab. From here you can select a scan from the list and press ‘Review’ to see the ECG. A Diagnosis column is on the right.

Review screen with ECG and data

From here you can print the scan. (To close, double-click on the ECG to return to the downloaded list).

Helpful tip: When you ‘print’ you can also select ‘Adobe PDF’ as your printer and save to your hard drive, but I had poor image results. An alternative is to take a screenshot or use the Windows snipping tool. Save the image, then print. Either way, you can attach it to an email and send to your doctor.

Amazon.com Contec Reviews from Customers with A-Fib

A curious point about the Amazon.com reviews: The Contec PM-10 has a customer review rating of 3.1 out of 5 stars, whereas the EMAY EMG-10 has a customer rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. From scanning the reviews, EMAY purchasers are happier with their contacts with EMAY customer service. (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.)

Amazon.com link

Use the A-Fib.com portal link to Amazon.com

I’ve included comments from three reviewers (who mention having A-Fib) on the Contec PM10 product page:

• A Contec review on Amazon.com by Ron Crist noted there’s no hidden fees like other popular devices (i.e., monthly fee for Kardia Heart Monitor by AliveCor). He went on to write: “I have persistent AFib and have had 2 crippling strokes. No more cardioversions (electric shocks) for me. I hope. I Strongly recommend it.”

• A doctor with A-Fib, PD, wrote on Amazon.com: This is a very good machine but ekg has some static. I am a doc with atrial fib and this helps in terms of heart rate and ekg…took some experimenting [to set up] but the results are gratifying…Once set up I give it 5 stars.”

• An Amazon reviewer with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation writes: “This monitor allows me to see just when my condition occurs and gives my cardiologist a better picture of my condition. Although not a perfect answer it does enhance the overall picture.”

You can read the Amazon.com reader reviews for yourself at the Contec PM10 and the EMAY EMG-10 product description pages.

Lightweight, Easy to Use, But Not a “Diagnostic” Device

Contec PM10 box & contents

The Contec PM10 is easy to use and carry in a pocket or handbag for scans on the go. Or leave with your laptop for periodic checks. While you can observe the ECG scan live on the screen, there’s no review screen. You must download the scan to review it or print it.

Unlike the AliveCor Kardia, no smartphone or tablet is needed to take scans. Observing the live ECG tracing may be enough for most A-Fib patients who just want a quick check of their heart beat and heart rate. I think you get a lot for the $79 price.

But remember this is not a diagnostic device. It doesn’t replace an ECG by your doctor or use of a mobile type of heart rhythm monitor to capture the electrical activity of your heart (e.g., a Holter monitor or event monitor).

I welcome your comments if you have used this unit or others in our reviews, Guide to DIY Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs) & Handheld ECG Monitors (Part I) and Do-It-Yourself ECG: A Review of Consumer Handheld ECG Monitors. Just send me an email.

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