AliveCor Announces Apple Watch 'Kardia Band' for Medical Grade EKG Analysis

Medical smartphone accessory company AliveCor today announced that it will bring "the first medical-grade EKG band" to the Apple Watch with the "Kardia Band," in addition to a new smartphone app for users of its heart-rate reading devices. The company already sells a few "mobile EKG" products in its online store, including cases for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 5/5s that have users place their fingers on metallic plates to get sufficient heart-rate readings.

Kardia Band apple watch
The Kardia Band for Apple Watch will function in a similar way, with a small, integrated metal sensor in the band communicating with the company's new app to take wrist-worn EKG readings. All users will have to do is navigate to the Apple Watch-compatible Kardia app, start a reading, place their thumb on the sensor, and wait for the 30-second analysis to complete. During this time, users can also speak into the Apple Watch's microphone to detail any palpitations, shortness of breath, or dietary habits that could be linked to heart-rate fluctuations.

Users can record a single-lead EKG by simply touching Kardia Band’s integrated sensor that communicates with the Watch app, Kardia by AliveCor™. The Atrial Fibrillation (AF) Detector then uses Kardia’s automated analysis process (algorithm) to instantly detect the presence of AF in an EKG, the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a leading cause of stroke.

Also included is the Normal Detector, which indicates whether your heart rate and rhythm are normal, and the Unreadable Detector, which tells you when to retake an EKG so physicians receive only the highest quality recordings.

The collected recordings are stored and can be viewed in the iPhone version of the Kardia app, and even sent to a patient's preferred doctor if any suspicious activity is gathered during a reading. AliveCor said that the app can also connect to Apple's stock Health app, so users can integrate their EKG readings into established fitness data like step count and calorie intake to further bolster an overall assessment of their well-being.


The Kardia Band is currently undergoing clearance approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and can't be sold until it does so, but AliveCor believes the device will be available to purchase as soon as "late spring." The updated Kardia by AliveCor app [Direct Link] can be downloaded today, however, and works with the company's re-branded Kardia Mobile device as well as the line of iPhone cases.

AliveCor encourages those interested to sign up on its website to be the first to know when the Kardia Band will be for sale and at what price.

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Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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58 months ago
As someone who had heart surgery at 17, I am glad about this technology.
Guys, we're witnessing a medical revolution.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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58 months ago
My heart goes out to them to be successful.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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58 months ago
Apple Watch' killer app: to save lives (pun intended)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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58 months ago

This can't possibly be accurate. My dad had a medical emergency last week. The EMTs started out with a four-lead ECG. They then switched to a 12-lead. The pads were dispersed all over his torso. The electrical signals travel from right to left across the heart. How could a wrist monitor (which might be on either wrist) perform the same function?

It can't, and it doesn't need to.

When was the last time you had a blood panel done? (CBC with auto diff.) A whole bunch of things are reported, but your doctor usually doesn't care - she's looking for white blood count, red blood count, and hemoglobin. That's where something wrong will show - the rest of the readings are helpful only in determining exactly what is wrong. If the first three readings are within range, the rest don't really matter.

Same thing with an ECG. A full-bore ECG shows that I have a slightly elongated Q-wave and a right bundle branch block. Neither of them matter on a day to day basis, it's just something to note on my annual physical. The big picture items that should cause you to head for the nearest hospital are much simpler.

However, I also have a history of atrial fibrillation, and have required electrocardioversion twice. Paroxysmal a-fib can pop up without warning and many people, myself include, are blissfully unaware when it does. The danger isn't that my heart will stop, it's that the arrhythmia can cause blood clot formation, which can then cause stroke. The quicker I'm aware that my heart isn't in sinus rhythm, the easier it is to correct (the Valsalva maneuver). I don't need a complete multi-lead ECG to detect it, this will do quite nicely.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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58 months ago
This is fantastic. Apple should partner with companies like this to bring even more health related solutions. Improving and Saving lives is a good thing.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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58 months ago

Thank you for an informative reply. This section really struck me in that it seems to illustrate that the manufacturer's marketing division is working over time. They are producing a "medical grade device" that is currently under going FDA certification. Without knowing more, that is setting a really high bar in my mind. However, considering what you say, which seems reasonable, suggests that it may all be window dressing and marketing speak, which is depressing.

Based on other's replies, I get it: This can be a specialized device for special needs for people that have certain conditions. OTOH, it also seems that the manufacturer is looking to attract folks who think that other monitors are just not enough and this thing will provide the deep data they need so that they can micro-manage every last little aspect of their physiology to the gnat's eyelash. I dunno, maybe this device is meant to be sold to Drs as an alternative to current technology and thus this speculation is unwarranted. Still, I would not be surprised to see this advertised in the pages of People, Men's Health, and Fitness magazines. :-/

edits for brevity

I think your cynicism shows something of your age and your friend base. I know, when you're in your twenties and thirties this all seems like the minority obsession of a bunch of hypochondriacs. But once you pass fifty you'll start to see one of your friends after another discovering they need to closely track their heart health (or be screened for cancer every three months, or ...) and this is not hypochondria, it is what growing old is like :-(

And hell, it's not only old people --- I guy I worked with about 20 years ago died at age 30 from a congenital heart problem. Nowadays, suppose he had, at 25, wondered "how come my heart seems to occasionally feel weird?", decided to wear one of these things, captured some data that he could show a doctor, and had nitroglycerin prescribed? He might still be alive. As it was, I expect when he spoke to a doctor, he seemed an unlikely candidate for heart disease being so young, so few tests were done and he was dismissed as having panic attacks or something.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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