KardiaBand, the first FDA-cleared personal EKG band. With it, Apple Watch users can capture their EKG anytime they want to detect normal sinus rhythms and atrial fibrillation, which is a common heart arrhythmia.
This FDA-cleared medical device is an accessory for Apple Watch, and it can record an EKG in 30 seconds through an integrated sensor. The result is displayed on Apple Watch’s face.
Cleared But Not Approved
Although FDA cleared it, the band is not FDA approved. It means that the FDA determined the band to be of substantially equivalent to a legally similar marketed device. The band can track heart rate, and it aims to monitor atrial fibrillation, but it is not something that FDA has approved to test yet.
The KardiaBrand comes with an extra electrode sensor that measures EKG with your finger. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, is equipped with heart rate sensor and may help in flagging dangerous cardiac conditions. The company launched a study with Stanford about heart rate.
But the KardiaBand is not the same as the optical HR technology of Apple Watch. That’s because it uses your finger or thumb in completing an electrical circuit. It utilizes two metal contacts for your finger and your wrist. This band can work with every version of Apple Watch except the original Series Zero.
The EKG reading using the band can take around 30 seconds. But you must not be active or moving when taking it as the band is designed to measure cardiac conditions when the user is in a stationary position.
It also uses its own app in tracking heart rate continuously, but it has to work in conjunction with the Apple Watch’s sensors. Now, if your heart rate is out of place, it pings you to take an EKG reading. The band uses AI that can learn over time.
The readings can be saved in-app. Then, you can import them into Apple Health. And if you want to know more about the readings and wish to consult with your doctor, you may send the data to your doctor.
How much does the band cost?
The band itself is $200. And if you wish to use its sharing features, cloud storage and incorporate blood pressure measurements, you need a yearly subscription service that is $99. Then, an additional fee may be required to export your results to a cardiac technician or a US board-certified cardiologist.
Unfortunately, some users complained of the band draining the battery faster than the usual. One of the reasons is that, by default, it uses an always-on heart rate. To conserve battery, you may wish to turn off that setting.
Although AliveCor offers a standalone device called the Kardia Mobile, you must consider connecting the KardiaBand to Apple Watch to make EKG readings entirely on its own. You can do so even when you are far away from your iPhone. It is also possible to take EKG reading even when you are offline.
It is also an interesting option if you wish to have an on-the-spot heart rate measurement.