UK approves smartphone-based KardiaMobile for detecting atrial fibrillation

The KardiaMobile device and the smartphone app

AliveCor, the creator of KardiaMobile, has announced that it has been given approval by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to have its KardiaMobile technology used in the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales. KardiaMobile is the first personal ECG device to be approved by NICE.

According to the NHS website, an ECG test is generally carried out by placing small, sticky electrodes on the patients' arms, legs, and chest. These are then connected by wires to an ECG recording machine. With KardiaMobile, you simply place two fingers from each hand on two electrodes and the data is sent to the KardiaMobile smartphone app. The elimination of sticky electrodes and wires make the device ideal for those who have to monitor their condition when away from their cardiologist.

With NICE approval, NHS cardiologists will be able to prescribe KardiaMobile devices to patients that experience arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) more than 24 hours apart. Once data has been collected, the ECG recordings will be able to be reviewed by a healthcare professional and used to deliver the appropriate healthcare.

According to AliveCor, a huge 1.3 million people in the UK suffer with atrial fibrillation but go undiagnosed, leaving them vulnerable to stroke. Early detection of the condition could save the NHS £3 billion in direct costs and the UK economy £4 billion in secondary costs such as lost productivity, disability, and informal care.

KardiaMobile devices cost $79 in the United States and £99 in the UK. While the NHS can now prescribe these devices to people it thinks would benefit from them, they can also be purchased by anybody privately directly from AliveCor.

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