Read my kardiamobile review. Over the last several years there has been an emergence of wearable devices and other at home technology aimed at monitoring people’s health. This includes the development of smart watches and activity sensors such as Fitbit and Apple Watch. With over 5 million Americans being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), it’s no surprise many companies have started to offer at home monitoring for AFib. These devices provide a unique opportunity for patients to monitor their AFib together with their doctor. Of the devices currently on the market, one of the most popular is the KardiaMobile, which is made by AliveCor®. In 2019, AliveCor also released its new 6 lead monitor called the KardiaMobile 6L.
What is KardiaMobile and how can it be helpful for someone with atrial fibrillation?
KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L can be purchased for at home use and they do not require a prescription. When you purchase your own device it’s yours to keep along with all of the data recorded. The Kardia devices work similar to external monitors given to you by your doctor, like the 24 hour Holter Monitor or the 30 day Event Monitor, but they don’t have to be returned.
The biggest difference between a KardiaMobile device and a simple heart rate tracker, such as on a FitBit, is that it actually takes an ECG, a picture of your heartbeat. This is very similar to the ECG you receive from your doctor’s office, just a simplified version.
KardiaMobile uses the ECG to identify if someone is in atrial fibrillation. Within a few seconds, the device can then send you an automated response to let you know if your heart rhythm is normal or if you’re in atrial fibrillation. The images or strips that the device records belong to you. If you choose, you can also send a copy of the images to your doctor’s office for further review.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the best features of these products is that they are yours to keep after purchase. I have frequently discussed that AFib is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. When it comes to a 24-hour or 30 day external heart monitors, doctors only know what is happening in your heart while you are wearing the monitor. If you have symptoms the next day or the next week, then your doctor cannot be certain what is causing your symptoms.
How Does Kardia Mobile Work?
KardiaMobile is about 3 inches long, small enough to easily carry in your pocket or even attach to the back of your smart phone. On the device there is a place to put your fingers if you feel symptoms. The accessory then transmits to the Kardia App on your smart phone to give you results of your ECG, which usually takes about 30 seconds.
My Personal Favorite: The Kardiamobile 6L
In 2019, AliveCor released the KardiaMobile 6L. This is an upgraded version of the original KardiaMobile. In the 6L version you are able to take a 6-lead ECG of your heart rhythm, which is much more accurate than the single lead ECG available on the original KardiaMobile. It is a similar size to the original KardiaMobile. The advantage of 6 leads is to have a more accurate picture of your heart rhythm and a better ability to diagnose an abnormal heart rhythm. Having 6 leads means that the device can look at your heart rhythm from 6 different angles, by comparison, an ECG in your doctor’s office has 12 leads which would be the most accurate. As a doctor that reviews many tracings from KardiaMobile devices, I can appreciate the increased accuracy that comes from the 6-lead device compared to the original single lead device.
KARDIAMOBILE VERSUS APPLE WATCH. WHICH DO I USUALLY RECOMMEND?
I typically recommend the KardiaMobile. My patients find it easy to use and the device provides good quality ECG’s; good enough that my office can determine the rhythm when sent a copy of the ECG. Many people ask me, “what do you recommend, a KardiaMobile or an Apple Watch?” My answer is usually based on whatever the patient is truly looking for. For someone looking strictly for an at home monitor for atrial fibrillation, the KardiaMobile is what I usually recommend, plus it is much cheaper then an Apple Watch. But for someone who likes smart watch technology, who wants the messaging, phone, and music options together with AFib monitoring, then the Apple Watch can be a good option.
Is Kardia Mobile accurate?
KardiaMobile and KardiaMobile 6L devices have a built in algorithm for detecting AFib. When used properly, clinical data supports a 95% accuracy. But what tips can I give to get you the best results from the Kardia devices?
Have you ever had an ECG done at your doctor’s office and they tell you to be still or even hold your breath while the test is being performed? This is because even very small subtle movements, such as breathing, can interfere with the quality of the ECG. With the KardiaMobile, you will likely get the best quality ECG by resting the sensor on a stationary object, like a table, and then put your fingers on it. Don’t hold the device in your hands. You would be surprised at how much your hands move even when you are trying to hold still.
Are there times when the Kardia devices may be inaccurate? There are times when the algorithm may give an unclassified response. It is possible that it is either receiving a poor tracing, or that someone is having a different type of arrhythmia, just not atrial fibrillation. I am overall in agreement that the Kardia devices have a very high accuracy in detecting AFib when used properly and when a clean ECG strip is obtained.