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Let’s Put The Best To The Test: Our KardiaMobile6L Review

Let’s Put The Best To The Test: Our KardiaMobile6L Review

AliveCor is close to our hearts. Literally. David Albert, the co-founder of the company, started experimenting with handheld, wireless ECG devices in the late 90s. Approximately 10 years later we tried out their FDA-cleared, medical grade gadget. It was a truly inspiring moment. Needless to say, we’ve been keeping track of their journey ever since. In our eyes Kardia is the textbook example of technology shaping health care, empowering and supporting not only e-patients, but medical professionals as well. So, let’s take a look at their newest creation, the KardiaMobile6L!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To play an important role in developing the electrocardiograph. It took scientists quite some time to map the electrical pathways of the heart and come up with a way to properly measure the changes in its state. So today we have fascinating stories about dogs patiently standing in buckets full of saline solution, diagnosing arrhythmias in horses, then witnessing them during open heart surgeries and, yes, chickens getting electrocuted and then brought back to life (they even laid eggs after this shocking experience).

All so that we can wait for the assistant to hook us up on the machine, wait (a bit anxiously at this point) for the machine to do its thing, buzzing as it prints out the paper, and finally wait some more for the doctor to analyze the report. We can all agree there’s still room for improvement there.

Why is ECG still relevant today? After all, it sure is an old technology, isn’t it? With every beat, electrical signals rush through your heart- and electrocardiography records these with the help of electrodes. A 12- lead ECG can be used to track heart rate and rhythm, to determine the size and position, and to see if there’s tissue damage present. It’s a quick and pain- free method to check the general health of the heart. Since it measures your current state, it only detects problems present while you’re wearing the device. So, symptoms might fade by the time the patient gets to a hospital.

Frequently this is the problem when it comes to the most common serious heart rhythm abnormality: atrial fibrillation, Afib or AF for short. It affects around 2.5% of the population in western countries. AF happens when the atria contracts rapidly and the rest of the heart has a hard time trying to catch up. The ability to pump blood is compromised, it’s inefficient, so blood pools and clots in places it’s not supposed to. These clots can then travel in the vascular system and cause an embolism or even a stroke.

Kardia can detect atrial fibrillation. In fact, it is only FDA-cleared to identify AF, tachycardia (increased heart rate) and bradycardia (low heart rate). It’s important to know that it’s not for diagnosing heart attacks or other diseases. Still, Kardia has high-quality software with a fantastic A.I., so when it indicates abnormal findings, it encourages you to show the recordings to a doctor. We’re excited about it being a 6-lead ECG, because it means we’ll have a more accurate picture of the electrical activity of the heart, more data, and increased precision when it comes to diagnosis.

Measure ECG in a heartbeat

When you open the box, the first thing you see is the KardiaMobile6L. It fits into your pocket, it’s light and it looks great. The plastic and metal exterior has a nice, minimalistic design. The box contains a quick start guide too, to help you set up your phone, record your first ECG and give you some tips on basic troubleshooting. You can buy a lightweight carrying case separately. The device doesn’t need to be charged and the battery is said to last 1-2 years even with everyday use.

The app doesn’t take up much space and is easy to use. You pair Kardia6L with your phone via Bluetooth, open the app and follow the short and straightforward instructions. You can choose to take a single or a 6-lead ECG. Take a seat and relax a bit, then tap the record button on your screen. Touch the top two electrodes with your thumbs, then touch the bottom electrode to the skin of your left leg and stay still. You don’t have to push on the device, just lightly holding it in place for 30 seconds is enough for your results to show.

The application doesn’t leave you in the dark. Right after the recording is over, it shows you your results, be it normal, possible Afib, or unclassified. As we mentioned earlier, Kardia is only FDA-cleared to indicate AF, but it can detect other abnormalities as well, hence the unclassified category. If you experience palpation-like symptoms, carrying this around for a quick check could give you a peace of mind. It’s completely wireless and you don’t need any special equipment for a medical-grade answer.

You can record your comments while holding the electrodes through voice recording. The recordings are then stored on your phone/tablet. In just a few simple steps, it’s easy to e-mail or print your ECGs. You can manually enter and track blood pressure and weight in the app as well, as these figures can also have a significant impact on the cardiovascular system.

On top of that, the premium plan includes medication tracking options, unlimited cloud storage of the recordings and a US only replacement plan. They send you customized reports regularly (again, this is a US only feature). The premium plan costs 99 USD a year or 9.99 USD a month, but be sure to check if your phone is compatible with the app before purchasing.

Let us bare our heart to you

As we mentioned earlier, AliveCor is close to our hearts. We love seeing them change certain sectors of health care with innovation, creativity and passion. Recently, an army of digital health technologies flooded the market shaping the future of cardiology. And in this field, prevention and early detection of worrying symptoms are crucial. A medical-grade lightweight ECG that can fit in your pocket is an amazing tool just for that!

It will come as no surprise that we do recommend Kardia products. Especially if you have a history of heart disease, or you’re currently on medication that could have an impact on your cardiovascular system; if you’re diabetic, have high cholesterol, hypertension or you lead a stressful life, KardiaMobile6L is a great choice to monitor your well being.


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