KardiaBand is the Apple Watch band that can run EKGs and detect irregular heartbeats

Kardia Band is the wearable EKG monitor that can detect dangerous heart patterns.
Image: alivecor

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Listen up, Apple Watch users: A new FDA-approved band is on the market and it can help you monitor your heart in a whole new way.

Yes, you can feel when your heart is beating fast after a run or a nerve-racking situation — but most of us aren’t doctors and can’t tell whether this is normal or an actual problem. Detecting when a heart has a truly irregular rhythm by yourself is a toss up, and the only way to confirm an atrial fibrillation (AFib) is to get an electrocardiogram (EKG) from a cardiologist. 

AliveCor is a company known for their mobile heart monitors that can be stuck on the back of a smartphone and run an EKG. After two years of testing, AliveCor was given the green light by the FDA to market the KardiaBand as a heart-monitoring wristband for the Apple Watch.

According to a study conducted by heart doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, researchers found that the band’s algorithm correctly distinguished AFib hearts from normal functioning hearts over 90 percent of the time. Basically, this means that the KardiaBand can give people an instant and pretty accurate idea of whether they have something to worry about — an analysis that could only previously be done during a trip to the doctor. 

Here’s how the KardiaBand runs a 30-second EKG:

What’s the big deal about irregular heart beats, you ask? If the abnormality is serious and not caught early, irregular rhythms can cause stroke, blood clots, or heart disease — so heart rhythm really isn’t something to be ignored.

This isn’t to say that AFib is always a life or death situation — not every too-fast or too-slow heart is an emergency, so don’t freak out. However, many people are deterred from going to the doctor because they don’t want to admit something is wrong, and overlooking possible AFib risks can lead to serious consequences. But thanks to KardiaBand, EKGs can now be done in the comfort of your own home. (Note: A doctor’s analysis should still be sought out if the band tells you something’s up.)

Mashable’s Mark Kaufman writes:

As more health and fitness devices are designed to work with popular consumer tech, like Apple iPhones and smartwatches, it’s helpful that doctors are scrutinizing some of these devices to ensure they work as advertised — even after they pass the FDA’s rigorous protocols. 

For $199, you can get a 38mm or 42mm KardiaBand here — and if you want the KardiaBand but don’t have an Apple Watch yet, you can snag the Apple Watch 3 here. If you don’t have an Apple Watch and don’t want an Apple Watch, AliveCor’s mobile EKG monitors for smartphones are also up for grabs for $99.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/28/kardiaband-apple-watch-irregular-heart-rhythm/

The FDA just cleared an Apple Watch band that measures your heart’s electrical activity

The AliveCor Kardia Band
Image: Alivecor

The Federal Drug Administration just cleared a new band for the Apple Watch that monitors the electrical rhythms in your heart. 

After a two-year process to satisfy the FDA’s stringent requirements, AliveCor announced today that the Kardia Band is now available for purchase for $199. It’s a mobile electrocardiogram (EKG), which measures a heart’s electrical activity and has traditionally been used by doctors to identify abnormal cardiac rhythms. 

“It’s a regulated measure of physiology by the FDA. Doctors can recognize over 100 conditions when they see an EKG,” AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra told Mashable

But unlike conventional EKGs, this is one that you wear on your wrist. The heart rhythms display on the Apple Watch, and it takes about 30 seconds to collect the electrical signals. What’s more, the watch will notify the user when they might potentially be experiencing a common heart arrhythmia called Atrial fibrillation, or AFib. 

“It used to take a cardiologist, and you’d have to take off your shirt,” said Gundotra. “Now you can do it while at your kid’s soccer game. You can know in half a minute what’s going on in your heart.”

After being scrutinized by the FDA, Gundotra is confident the device accurately and reliably measures electrical heart activity.

“We had to prove that our algorithms are effective as a board of human cardiologists,” he said, noting that the stack of FDA regulatory papers “might be taller than me.”

We had to prove that our algorithms are effective as a board of human cardiologists

The Kardia Band can be especially useful for patients who suffer from AFib, Gordon Tomaselli, chief of the division of cardiology at John Hopkins University, told Mashable. “AFib may not be dangerous, however, it is associated with increased risk of blood clots in hearts,” he explained. “It also turns out to be a common cause of stroke that occurs for no obvious reason.”

“I think it’s a useful adjunct and useful for some patients,” he added. “And there are some people that want to know [they’re experiencing AFib] — and for those folks this is a great solution.”

Still, Tomaselli cautioned the Kardia Band might not be the best option for every single patient. 

“I think if you have a serious cardiac disease you should not be completely reliant on this to make a diagnosis,” said Tomaselli. “It is always best to make sure that your health care provider has a look at the rhythms.”

Most of all, he emphasized,If you don’t feel well, you need to see someone. Symptoms trump any recording.”

Besides watching for AFib, the Kardia Band is also infused with AI technology, a deep-learning tool the company calls “SmartRhythm Monitoring.” This program, however, doesn’t monitor heart rhythms. Instead, it watches your heart rate. The AI system checks your heart rate every five seconds, and will, based up your activity over the previous 30 minutes, notify you when your heart rate is pumping abnormally fast. 

For instance, the Kardia Band will alert you if your heart rate spikes, even though you might be idly sitting in a car.

“It worked on me when a cop pulled me over,” said AliveCor’s CEO, Gundotra. “We’re looking for things that don’t match our predictions.”

So for anyone that’s interested in better understanding their heart — both it’s rhythms and heart rate behavior — the Kardia Band can serve as a helpful tool. 

“It’s neat technology and there’s going to be more and more of this,” said Tomaselli. “I think some of this is going to be very useful not just in diagnosing things but helping, for those interested, to maintain their best cardiovascular health and fitness.”

And AliveCor’s Gundotra, after working through a tedious FDA approval process, feels the system validates this new technology. “We are very lucky to have such a strict regulatory body,” he said. “You can’t make ridiculous claims in this country.”

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/30/fda-clears-alivcor-kardia-band-for-apple-watch/

Barack Obama responded to Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional speech about the ACA

Well this is touching.

After his incredibly moving opening monologue last night about his newborn son’s open heart surgery and his support for the Affordable Care Act, late night host Jimmy Kimmel got a tweet from the man who made it happen, former President Barack Obama.

In case you haven’t seen the monologue (and truly, it’s a must-watch), Kimmel reveals that his son was born with a heart defect that required emergency open heart surgery. After thanking the wonderful doctors and nurses who saved his son’s life, Kimmel talked to his audience about the incredible importance of the ACA.

“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to – it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” the tearful host said. “I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or Democrat or something else, we all agree on that.”

“No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life…it just shouldn’t happen,” he pleaded.

Obama, seeing Kimmel’s impassioned speech (which, again is a must-watch), responded in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

Like Kimmel said, let’s take care of each other.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/02/barack-obama-responds-jimmy-kimmel-aca/