A few months back, my cousin underwent his second treatment for Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). His treatment was relatively successful, but I began to grow worried that my “benign” heart palpitations would evolve into atrial fibrillation since I had read somewhere online that it was a possibility (I’m not sure if that is actually true, but it definitely got me thinking about it, and I wanted a way to track, or at least monitor, my heart palpitations). Atrial fibrillation carries with it a higher risk of stroke, so I thought it would be awesome if there was a cheaper way to get an EKG than going to the doctor. I even thought it would save me some time and money if I just bought a used full scale EKG machine online (heart palpitations make you do crazy things 🙂 ). But once I started doing some research I came across a cool little product called AliveCor. It’s certainly not a full replacement of a 12 node EKG report, but it can detect heart arrhythmias, particularly A-fib.
I bought mine on Amazon and the cost was only $95 (I admit that can be lot of money, at least for me, but compared to a doctor’s visit and a EKG test, it seemed reasonable). I was skeptical at first, but I’ve actually been really impressed at what this little device can do.
AliveCor is a small rectangular device that records ECGs and your heart rate. All you have to do is place your fingers on the little metal pads. It sends the data to a free AliveCor app you download on your smartphone. You can also stick the device on the back of a phone case for easier use, but I actually found it worked best when I set it flat on a table next to the phone. If you did decide to stick the device on your phone case, you can also rest the phone case electrodes on your chest and get a reading that way. Once your ECG/pulse rate is recorded and saved, you can add notes as well as send your recording to your Cardiologist. You can also have a specialist look at your readings as well for a small fee (around $12).
I won’t do a step-by-step review of the product today, but I have included some images below to show you what it looks like. It’s very simple and easy to use, and seems pretty effective. It’s obviously not going to replace a full EKG (yet) and I don’t think it’s necessarily going to detect a heart attack (and of course there is always the risk of false positives as well), but I was really impressed with this little device.
Overall, I think it’s a really great product. It seemed really reliable to me and most of the reviews I read were very positive. If you have heart palpitations or an arrhythmia, I definitely think it’s worth looking into. As I mentioned above, I use it to track my palpitations and make notes on when they occur and why I think they may be happening. I think it’s also helpful to keep a record for your doctor/cardiologist. Remember, they are trying to solve a mystery with limited information. In my opinion, the more information you can give them the better.
So check out AliveCor and let me know what you think!
Have you already tried AliveCor? Is it worth it? Do you find it’s helpful?