AliveCor Unveils Heart Monitoring Apple Watch Band


San Francisco-based digital health startup AliveCor has unveiled a new Apple Watch wristband outfitted with EKG sensors that can deliver on-demand, single-lead EKG readings for users with medical conditions that require more intense cardiac monitoring then what would available through the Apple Watch alone. Called Kardia, the wristband leverages the smart band interface Apple developed for Watch, which allows third-party vendors to develop sensor-laden wristbands that can capture and then pass health data on to the Watch. AliveCor is the first vendor to unveil such a band.

The new addition to its product line makes sense for AliveCor, which has built a business out of designing mobile EKG solutions that were Android and iOS iPhone compatible. Its flagship product was an iPhone 4 case with an embedded EKG sensor. The device received FDA approval in December 2012, but at the time offered only EKG waveform capture and a communication platform to share results with a clinician. Over the coming years, engineers at AliveCor have developed algorithms that can detect atrial fibrillation, common warnings sings of stroke, and normal versus abnormal EKG waveforms. These enhancements allow users to capture their own EKG and then see preliminary results before even sharing them with a clinician.

Now, AliveCor has rolled the technology and functionality from its iPhone carrying case into an Apple Watch wristband. The new product will operate in the same manner that the iPhone case did. Users will press a button to initiate a scan. Upon completion, algorithms will search for signs of stroke, arrhythmia, or any other abnormalities. Users can record a voice message to be stored along with the waveform and then both the message and the EKG will be sent to the users physician for interpretation.

The new wristband does not have FDA approval yet, though AliveCor reports that it expects clearance by late spring.

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