In January last year, I did a video bulletin on Howtospendit.com in which I tested a portable, personal ECG machine embedded in an iPhone case from US company AliveCor. It seemed to suggest my heart was performing normally, but I took it and its companion app to Manhattan-based cardiologist Dr Jonathan Steinberg for his appraisal. He was impressed by AliveCor and confirmed that it is an effective – and FDA-approved – device for detecting atrial fibrillation, a key indicator of the risk of stroke or other heart problems.
A couple of things have happened in the past 14 months. AliveCor has renamed its self-testing technology Kardia, and, more importantly, it now has this Apple Watch version, the Kardia Band, in which the ECG detector is built into the watch strap. This means anyone keen on monitoring their heart health (as all men over 50 should be, especially if they have had an “event”) can do so discreetly without carrying any equipment. All you need do is touch the metal square on the strap and the technology will do the rest. There’s a third development, by the way: if you don’t have an Apple Watch or care to have an ECG machine installed in your phone case, you can buy the sub credit card-sized insert from the case – renamed the Kardia Mobile – for £99 and keep it in your pocket or travel kit; it works just the same. Heartening.