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


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


AliveCor Kardia

New from AliveCor: Wearable ECG for Your Apple Watch

For A-Fib patients, we now have the promise of personal monitoring to detect atrial fibrillation.

After working through a tedious FDA approval process, AliveCor’s KardiaBand™ for Apple Watch® is finally available (they’ve been promoting it since before October 2016). KardiaBand is similar in function to AliveCor’s Kardia Mobile, a small device which interfaces with smart phones to display and record ECGs.

The KardiaBand is the first of its kind, FDA-cleared, clinical grade wearable ECG. It replaces your original Apple Watch wristband and provides access to a 30-second ECG anytime, anywhere.

By placing your thumb on your wristwatch band, the KardiaBand for Apple Watch offers a medical grade single lead ECG recording. (The ECG recordings are equivalent in quality to those made by the Kardia Mobile.) You can record unlimited ECGs and email the readings to anyone.

Kardia’s SmartRhythm Monitoring System

Your Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate sensor and accelerometer, when combined with the KardiaBand, uses Alivecor’s SmartRhythm™ monitoring with artificial intelligence models for tracking heart rate and activity data.

SmartRhythm monitoring involves a deep neural network that runs directly on the Apple Watch, constantly acquiring data from the watch. When the network sees a pattern of heart rate and activity that it does not expect, it notifies you to take an ECG using the KardiaBand sensor.

Or, any time you like, you can discretely take a 30-second ECG. The KardiaBand with SmartRhythm monitoring can instantly recognize Normal Sinus Rhythm, and check for Possible Atrial Fibrillation (AF). To learn more about how it works, go to Alivecor.com/technology.

The Price of an ECG on Your Wrist

KardiaBand requires an Apple Watch and Kardia app. The KardiaBand is $199.00 and ships with two band lengths to assure a proper fit. Includes free shipping and a 30-day money back guarantee. It’s available from the Alivecor website.

The gold standard for diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (and other cardiac arrhythmias or abnormalities) is an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Spoiler Alert—KardiaGuard Premium Membership Required: The KardiaBand product for Apple Watch REQUIRES KardiaGuard membership at $9.99/month or $99/year (20% savings). You do get a 30-day free trial that begins from the time you create an account with the Kardia App. (Note: There’s no membership required to use the Kardia Monitor.)

Buyer’s Regret: With a 30-day money back guarantee on the KardiaBand and free 30-day membership trial, if not happy with your purchase, I suppose you can return it all and owe nothing.

Online Customer Reviews

I found the most helpful online review is by Anthony Pearson, MD, at The Skeptical Cardiologist website (theskepticalcardiologist.com). See his article: Alivecor’s Kardia band is now available: Mobile ECG on your Apple Watch.

Customer reviews of the AliveCor KardiaBand on Amazon.com are split; take a look.

Two Ways You Might Use an AliveCor Kardia

Travis Von Slooten

Travis Von Slooten

How might you use the Kardia to help with your A-Fib? Travis Van Slooten, publisher of Livingwithatrialfibrillation.com, wrote about using his AliveCor Kardia Mobile (the Kardia version used with a smart phone or tablet). In his review he shares:

AliveCor Kardia Monitor for cell phone or tablet at A-Fib.com

AliveCor Kardia Monitor for smart phone or tablet

“When I would go into afib, I was highly symptomatic. However, I always turned to my Kardia Mobile monitor to confirm I was indeed in afib before I would take my medication (Flecainide) as a pill-in-the-pocket approach to treating my atrial fibrillation.

This is a very powerful antiarrhythmic drug, especially at the doses I was taking (300mg), so I didn’t want to take it unless I was absolutely sure I was in afib.

I would then use the AliveCor monitor afterwards to confirm I was back in NSR. … It was great to have the monitor to confirm when the episode was over.

Works for PVC/PACs too: Since his successful ablation back in March 2015, Travis hasn’t needed to use the Kardia Monitor for A-Fib specifically, but now uses it extensively in his battle with PVCs and PACs. He confirms his PVC/PACs and rules out A-Fib. He also uses the data to keep a historical record of the number of his PVC/PACs. To read Travis’ full review, see our article: AliveCor Kardia Update: Review by Travis Van Slooten.

Caution: Health-Related Anxiety

In an AliveCor KardioBand review on CardioBrief.org, James Stein (University of Wisconsin) offered the following insight:

“…Many people with expendable income have health-related anxiety, so this product enables their desire to spend money and achieve a temporary but false piece of mind, since random monitoring has not been proven to prevent any adverse events or improve health outcomes…”

Before You Buy: Determine Your Goals

If you decide to invest in an AliveCor KardiaBand and Apple Watch, first determine your goals. Be realistic. It’s not a replacement for your doctor’s Event Monitor. And the ECGs won’t help you avoid an A-Fib-related stroke.

Using the KardiaBand and Apple Watch to email ECGs may help you communicate better with your doctor. It may help to know if you are or are not having A-Fib attack. It may help you remain calm and give you peace of mind.

Remember: A KardiaBand on an Apple Watch is just another tool in your A-Fib “toolbox” that can help you cope with your A-Fib.

VIDEO: Here’s a short video that shows you the basics of using the KardiaBand with your Apple Watch. Posted by AliveCor, Inc. Length: 51 seconds.

AliveCor Kardia Update: Review by Travis Van Slooten

By Travis Van Slooten, October 2016

Travis Von Slooten at A-Fib.com

Travis V. S.

This is an update to our February 2015 review. We welcome guest blogger, Travis Van Slooten, publisher of Livingwithatrialfibrillation.com. An active user of the AliveCor Kardia, he is sharing his review and opinions.

As someone that battled a-fib for 8½ years prior to having a successful ablation, the Kardia Mobile heart monitor by AliveCor really helped me and gave me peace of mind.

The Kardia monitor is a FDA-approved device that works with your smartphone and allows you to take an ECG recording of your heart from the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere.

travis-with-kardia-and-credit-card-400-x-200-pix-at-300-res

Size comparison Kardia vs. credit card

The Kardia consists of two parts. There is the device itself, a small, wireless component that attaches or sits in close proximity to a cell phone or tablet. It syncs to the second component, a smartphone app.

It’s very straight forward to use the device. After you download the app to your smartphone, open and click on “Record Now”; then press your fingers to the device.

travis-kardia-app-record-now-message-400-x-430-pix-at-96-res

Kardia app Record screen

As soon as you click on the green “Record Now” button, with your fingers on the device, the app displays an ECG reading of your heart in real-time and records it.

The default setting is 30 seconds, but you can record up to 5 minutes if you want.

I recommend the one-minute recording, because 30 seconds is too short and anything over one minute is longer than necessary to get the data you need.

Three classifications. When completed, AliveCor’s built-in filter will tell you immediately if you are potentially in afib or not. The three classifications you’ll potentially get are:

• Possible Afib
• Normal
• Unclassified

VIDEO:  AliveCor Kardia Review by Actualidad iPad

Best footage I could find of the Kardia app screen. Shows actual capturing of the ECG signal with an inset image showing the users hand positions on the Kardia device. He repeats and adjusts his hands and you see the results on the screen. Watch 1st 3:00 min. Followed by report screen, emailing, etc. In Spanish (can mute audio).

Legally, AliveCor’s filter can’t say you are definitely in afib; so if you’re in afib, it will say, “Possible Afib.” If you get this message, you’ll want to share the ECG with your doctor, which you can easily do within the app. You can also send the ECG to AliveCor’s ECG analysis service from within the app for a fee to get an interpretation.

The “normal” classification is self-explanatory. If your heart is in normal sinus rhythm (NSR), you’ll get this message. This is the classification you hope to see!

The “unclassified” classification is a bit trickier. This means one of two things. You’re either having an arrhythmia other than afib such as PVCs, PACs, tachycardia, bradycardia, etc., or the device wasn’t held properly so an accurate recording wasn’t taken.

If you get the unclassified message, there are a couple things you can do. You can try another recording to see if you get the same message, or you can send the ECG to your doctor or AliveCor’s ECG analysis service for interpretation. Usually when I get this message, I find out I’m having PVCs and PACs.

Why Should Every Person with Afib Own This Device?

Three ways to hold the Kardia: Top: attached to the back of your smartphone; Center: grasping with finger tips; Bottom: pressing on a flat surface;

Let me explain how it helped me.

When I would go into afib, I knew I was in afib! I was highly symptomatic. However, I always turned to my Kardia Mobile monitor to confirm I was indeed in afib before I would take my medication. I was taking Flecainide at the time as a pill-in-the-pocket approach to treating my atrial fibrillation. This is a very powerful antiarrhythmic drug, especially at the doses I was taking (300mg), so I didn’t want to take it unless I was absolutely sure I was in afib.

I would then use the AliveCor monitor afterwards to confirm I was back in NSR. For me, it would usually take 4-6 hours before the Flecainide would work. It was great to have the monitor to confirm when the episode was over. I would share this information with my doctor, which helped him to determine if our treatment approach was working.

Since my successful ablation back in March 2015, I haven’t had a need to use the Kardia monitor for afib specifically, but now I use it in my battle with PVCs and PACs.

Sometimes these get so intense that I feel like I’m having a minor afib episode (if there is such a thing as a minor afib episode). I use the monitor extensively to confirm I’m having just PVCs and PACs and not afib. I also use the data to keep a historical record of the number of PVCs and PACs I’m having.

As I’m sure you can see by now, this little device can provide a lot of useful information for you and your doctor.

The Drawbacks of the Kardia Mobile Monitor

I’m a big advocate of this device, but it isn’t perfect. My primary complaints about the device are that it can be very touchy at times and can provide inaccurate or misleading classifications.

Must hold the monitor “just right”. The Kardia monitor requires that you stay perfectly still to get the cleanest and most accurate ECG reading. If you move around or if you move your fingers, or if you hold the device too hard or too soft, you can get a “dirty” ECG reading or an inaccurate classification. This can be annoying as it can sometimes take 2-3 attempts to get a good reading.

Misleading classifications can be common as well. There have been many times when the app shows “Possible Afib” when I’m just having PVCs and PACs. And when I’m having PVCs and PACs, it will almost always say “Unclassified.” It would be nice if it said PVCs and/or PACs instead of leaving me in the dark with an “Unclassified” message or indicating I might be in afib.

ECG analysis service fees adds up. My other minor complaints are that the ECG analysis service is expensive, and there is no ambulatory (continuous) monitoring. Through the app, you’ll pay $9 for a technician only analysis or $19 for a cardiologist analysis and recommendation. If you’re having a lot of your ECG recordings analyzed, this can add up quickly!

Can’t monitor your heart while walking or sleeping. Given the nature of the device – having to hold it perfectly still when you want to take a recording – there is no ambulatory monitoring available. For example, you can’t monitor your heart while walking or exercising. You can’t monitor your heart while sleeping. It would be great if future versions include some kind of wearable tech to allow continuous monitoring for these situations.

Bottom Line: Still the Best Consumer Heart Monitor. Despite these drawbacks, the Kardia device is still the best available monitor of its kind in the consumer market, in my opinion. If any of these drawbacks were improved upon, it would just make the monitor that much better!

What the Future Holds for the Kardia Monitor

Omron BPM - wireless - A-Fib.com

Wireless Omron BPM

Just recently, AliveCor partnered with Omron. You can buy a Bluetooth-enabled Omron blood pressure monitor and store that information in the Kardia Mobile app. This will give you additional useful data of your heart health that you can use and share with your doctor.

Kardia band for Apple Watch

Kardia band for Apple Watch

There is also the Kardia Band that AliveCor is waiting for the approval of by the FDA. This is a band for the Apple watch. Instead of carrying the device in your pocket or attaching it to your phone like you have to now, you’ll be able to wear this band with your Apple watch and just place your thumb on it to take a recording. How convenient that will be!

Wrap Up

If you have atrial fibrillation and you don’t own this device, I highly recommend you get one. It’s another tool in your “afib toolbox” that can help you manage your condition and give you peace of mind.


travis-van-slooten-150-sq-at-300-res

Travis

We are grateful to Travis for sharing his first-hand experience and opinions. Visit his blog for a more extensive review of the AliveCor Kardia.

Travis Van Slooten is a blogger, internet marketer and atrial fibrillation patient who has been passionate about providing knowledge, inspiration, and support to fellow afibbers ever since his diagnosis in 2006. You can follow him on his blog or his afib Facebook page.

Are You Using the AliveCor Kardia or BodiMetrics Heart Monitors?

Are you using the latest AliveCor ‘Kardia™ Mobile’ heart monitor? The current model (Model 1141) has been out since February. I want to update our February 2015 review.AliveCor ECG smartphone at A-Fib.com

The AliveCor Kardia attaches to an android or Apple device. And by pressing the sensors with your fingers (or thumbs), it capture single-lead, medical-grade EKGs in just 30-seconds. Instantly it shows if your heart rhythm is normal or if atrial fibrillation is detected.

How is the AliveCor Kardia Working for You?

If you are using the AliveCor Kardia, how do you typically use it? Regularly? Or only when you think you’re in A-Fib?

Do you take readings just for your own peace of mind or do you transfer the data to your doctor? Are you satisfied with its performance? Do you recommend the Alivecor Kardia or other brand monitor to others with A-Fib?

Share Your Insights

Do you have first-hand experience? I’m asking any A-Fib.com readers using the latest AliveCor Kardia model to share your product experiences with me. Just send me an Email with your impressions.

BodiMetrics

BodiMetrics

Other Heart Monitors:  I’m also interested if you are using another brand of handheld heart monitor, such as the BodiMetrics Performance Monitor.

While the BodiMetrics unit is much more than just a heart monitor, I’d love to hear if you are using it to help monitor your A-Fib. Send me an email, won’t you?

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