Innovation Watch

AliveCor ECG Heart Monitor

AliveCor ECG Heart Monitor and App for iPhone

AliveCor brings single-lead ECG tracing to the mHealth arena with their iPhone peripheral and iOS app.  Touted as the ECG “at your fingertips,” the AliveCor heart monitor is compatible with the iPhone 4/4S and 5.  They also offer models that are compatible with various Android devices, though we did not purchase any of those models.  The monitor and app are intended for use by licensed medical professionals or can be prescribed to patients for store-and-forward ECG rhythms.

The heart monitor has two electrodes powered by a 3.0V coin cell battery, and it simply clips onto the back of the iPhone.  Once the device is attached, the patient rests the electrode sensors on his or her upturned fingertips, with the ‘Home’ button to the right.  The app can sense skin contact on the sensors, and the ECG recording is initiated after a good connection is detected.  ECGs over ten seconds long are automatically saved in the app for later review.  The app allows for annotations, patient identification, and also captures a simultaneous heart rate during each reading.  Additional features include adjustments for gain and paper speed, and ECGs can be inverted if necessary.

With a price point of $199 (not including the smartphone), the AliveCor ECG Heart Monitor and app facilitate monitoring in settings where access to more advanced equipment isn’t available.  For basic heart monitoring, checking for arrhythmias, and calculating heart rate, the elegant design and portability of this device make it a viable candidate for mobile health needs.

We reviewed this device in our laboratory setting, and as such have no direct evidence of its durability in the field.  We did note, however, that the flexible rubber case that affixes the leads to the iPhone appears of good quality and would likely withstand travel in a pocket or medical bag.  The case fits so tightly, however, that we had to push against the phone’s camera lens to extract it from the ECG case, which is counterintuitive to the photographers among us.

Product Specifications

  • Dimensions: 118 x 62 x 16.5 mm
  • Weight: 40 grams
  • Battery Type: CR2025 3V Coin Cell
  • Battery Life: 100 Hours Operational Time, 12 months typical use

AliveCor’s Website