The FDA will allow you to wear your heart monitor on your sleeve.
The Food and Drug Administration approved an Apple Watch accessory that will monitor your electrocardiogram right from your wrist.
The AliveCor Kardiaband EKG reader has been approved by the FDA as the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch in the United States. While it is not meant to replace professional medical care, it can differentiate between normal heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation, which is the most common type of abnormal rhythm.
While seated, the user can select “record EKG” and put their thumb on the sensor located on the watch band for 30 seconds. It will tell the user if their heart rate is normal or “possible AF” — not a reference to millennial slang.
The device uses artificial intelligence to compare the user’s heart data to others, both healthy and sick, and your own prior heart rhythms.
The device also uses its SmartRhythm feature to connect to the Apple Watch’s activity monitoring to detect heart anomalies during physical activity.
Being able to check your own EKG will cost you a pretty, non-insured penny, however. The watchband sells for $199, while a mobile version, which features a standalone sensor to pair with a cell, sells for $99. You also need an Apple Watch and a subscription to AliveCor’s premium service, which runs at $99/year.
Some of the testimonials on the site say that it was a useful tool. One user said it was “an important medical diagnostic and communication tool between me and my cardiology team,” while another said they were able to talk to their doctor over the phone in conjunction with AliveCor, saving them a trip to the hospital.
The device, however, does not yet work with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators.
In addition to heart monitors, Apple CEO Tim Cook is also looking to get glucose readers to become part of the Apple Watch health tracker family.