This is my AliveCor Kardia Mobile review. I have been using Kardia Mobile since my cardiologist recommended it to me in 2016.
I reveal my take on Kardia Mobile along with the pros and cons I have noticed. I include what I like about Kardia Mobile as well as what I do not like about Kardia Mobile in this review.
I also reveal if I think if it is a practical way to capture EKGs, if it is any good and will it actually capture EKGs anywhere anytime and if the instant results are any good.
I used this in 2016, 2017 and 2018. And of course, I am continuing to use this in 2019.
Let’s get started with the review:
I have a heart condition and also suffer from stress/anxiety. I also suffer panic attacks and migraine headaches. Sometimes I will have a medical event. It is hard to determine if these are more related to my heart or the other reasons.
I was advised by my cardiologist to get Kardia Mobile to help gather hard evidence that will help in this determination a few weeks after suffering from one of those medical events. My doctor who I saw shortly after that event advised me that I had a panic attack and that it had nothing whatsoever to do with my heart. My cardiologist was not so sure.
I have found Kardia Mobile to be great. The people behind this, AliveCor also offer additional services and supports which I will also discuss in this review. This makes their complete offering very useful, very practical, very cost effective and very time effective for me which empowers me to get on with the rest of my life, rather than waiting around doctors, hospitals and the like.
An EKG and an ECG and an Electrocardiogram are all the same thing, it is just that different people use different terms to mean the same thing. A heart condition called atrial fibrillation is also know as AFib and as AF depending on context.
Here you will learn more about Kardia Mobile and how I use it. You will also find out if it is any good, based on my real life experiences of using it.
My Success Story Using Kardia Mobile
My cardiologist recommended that I use Kardia Mobile in October 2016. I used Kardia Mobile to capture my first EKG for the first time on October 30, 2016. I have been using Kardia Mobile as required for over 26 months.
I use Kardia Mobile to capture EKGs when I have an interesting event and use the results that its partner Kardia Mobile App generates to help me determine my next move. If the App determines that the result is Normal, my next move is to forget about it and move on with my life.
For the Non normal results, I usually order an Analysis Report via the App where a cardiac physiologist looks at the EKG and makes recommendations. They usually come back to me via the App within one business day with this information. There is of course, a charge for this service.
Then depending on the results of that Analysis Report, I email the associated EKG to my cardiologist for her recommendation. Lucky for me so far, this is a rare event for me and so far for me, she comes back with a “nothing to worry about”. Long may that be the case.
My cardiologist and I agreed this process a while back. We review and agree this process regularly to ensure that it still makes sense. In my opinion, you should agree a process with your professional heart team and review it on a regular basis.
So far I obtained a number of EKGs using Kardia Mobile and luckily for me, I only had to get my cardiologist to review a very small number of them. These were all right however I still need to send her any interesting EKG in case further actions are required.
Some advantages of Kardia Mobile:
- EKG on the move: Take unlimited medical-grade EKGs anytime, anywhere. Email unlimited EKGs to yourself or your doctor.
- Trusted by Doctors: FDA-Cleared to detect Atrial Fibrillation or Normal Heart Rhythm in 30 seconds.
- Easy to use: Simply place your fingers on the sensors — no wires, patches or gels required.
- Kardia works with most smartphones & tablets on Android & iOS:
- OPTIONALLY: Go premium: Enjoy unlimited cloud storage of all your EKG recordings, plus monthly reports and much more. No commitment required.
Kardia Mobile is not recommended for use with pacemakers and ICDs. As a lay person myself I do not know the reasons why. As I do not have a pacemaker or ICD myself this does not affect me however it may affect you.
My Review Of Kardia Mobile
I have been using Kardia Mobile since October 2016 and this is my take on this. I find it a great tool to have to help me manage my heart health. One of the biggest benefits for me is letting me know that the health events I have are more related to my anxiety/stress rather than my heart. And that I have hard evidence to back up that observation. This is a huge weight off my shoulders.
What Is Kardia Mobile?
Kardia Mobile is a great handy way for capturing EKGs anytime anywhere. It is about the length of a credit card and just under two thirds of the width of a credit card. This works in conjunction with compatible smartphones and tablets on Android and on iOS. Using the associated App, this captures heart rate, rhythm and symptoms for early detection of Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib.
Rather than going to a hospital and capturing your EKG that way, Kardia Mobile allows you to take your EKG yourself now during an interesting event, get an Instant Result and then based on the Instant Result, you can determine your next action step in an objective way. If the Instant Result is Normal that may suggest that something else is the cause.
If you have an interesting event, then it is going to be some time by the time you get to an medical facility for them to take your EKG. By then, your EKG may show nothing of interest because the interesting event is over.
This is a very mobile and very portable way to allow you to get an EKG and an Instant Result which allows you to determine your next action step if there is one in an objective manner. You also have hard evidence as you can show medical professionals the EKG or EKGs you captured which may help them to treat you in a more appropriate and more focussed manner.
Who Is Kardia Mobile For?
This is for anyone interested in their heart health, basically everyone. This is for anyone interested in capturing EKGs when necessary. Some of the physical symptoms of stress or anxiety are similar to heart related physical symptoms, and it can be difficult to pin these down, especially if you have a heart condition and also suffer from stress/anxiety.
Kardia Mobile may help you in this determination. Or at least, that is what it is doing for me very well, it appears that some of my physical symptoms are more related to my stress/anxiety rather than my heart. I also have an underlying heart condition that is being managed by my heart health team. In my case, there is a heart condition as well as stress/anxiety.
How Is Kardia Mobile Helping Me?
A few years ago, I was under a lot of stress and anxiety, and had a panic attack. I went straight away to see the doctor and saw him shorty after that event. He was very sure that the event was a panic attack. The doctor even said during that discussion that if he thought it was heart related in any shape or form rather than panic attack related that I would be in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.
According to my cardiologist who I saw a few weeks later, it may have been a heart related incident. My cardiologist suggested that I get Kardia Mobile as this could help in providing more hard evidence. She explained that she thought that maybe a heart related incident ‘kicked off’ the panic attack in the first place, rather than stress/anxiety.
Another medical professional said way later, that my cardiologist had no option but to indicate to me that the event may have been heart related otherwise she would not have been doing her job. She did not know my doctor and so she was erring of the side of caution.
Kardia Mobile can be used anywhere at anytime in conjunction with a compatible smartphone, including at home. This captures a successful EKG recording and provides an instant result. The instant result can be Normal or Possible Atrial Fibrillation or Unclassified. This is very useful because then you have hard evidence to discuss with your doctor if necessary.
Unclassified here means “Kardia unclassified” or “AliveCor unclassified”. The Kardia Mobile App in conjunction with the Kardia Mobile Device by AliveCor may return an unclassified result on occasion and this is explained more below.
Unclassified means that the App is not able to determine if the EKG is normal or not. In this case, it also did not detect an Atrial Fibrillation. In this case, someone who knows how to read and interpret an EKG would need to look at it. This could be your doctor or your cardiologist.
For me, seeing my doctor, unless if it an emergency means that I would have to book an appointment to see him. It would be rare that I would be able to see him within a week, because his schedule is so full. I am also not sure if he would provide an interpretation of the EKG and he would most likely refer me to my cardiologist.
For me, I can email the EKG to my cardiologist and she will come back within 2 – 3 business days, assuming that she is around. I do not want to “cry wolf” and add unnecessary to her workload, unless I have a really good reason.
So getting a doctor or cardiologist to look at Unclassified EKGs may be something that is not easy to do in the real world.
Luckily for me and maybe you too, AliveCor have an option to get “unclassified” EKG readings reviewed by a cardiac physiologist. That option works well for me.
If it is unclassified, they have an option to get that reviewed by a cardiac physiologist. The level of detail that is provided is an interpretation of the EKG and a doctor recommendation. They expect to get back to you with 24 hours. They naturally have a small charge for this service. Once you order this EKG review via the App, they report back to you via the App and those results are kept in your History. This is the case if you are using the Premium option which I am using because that works for me.
That unclassified EKG review comes back as an Analysis Report inside of the App:
- Explains the level of severity using traffic light colors to help you determine your next action step:
- Green for “Stable”
- Orange for “Needs Review”
- Red for “Serious”
- There would be some brief technical information regarding the EKG, for example rate and rhythm. This information is enclosed in a box with a green or orange or red background that indicates how severe it is. The traffic light colors mentioned earlier.
- This is the recommendation.
When using this option, they also send you an email when you order this Analysis Report for the unclassified reading and another email when the Analysis Report is available. This can then be reviewed securely online or in the App itself.
In the App itself, for that EKG recording, there is an option to view that Analysis Report. Note that this is only the case if the EKG recording was “Unclassified” and you ordered the Analysis Report for that EKG. I do not know if there is an option to order these Analysis Reports if you are not on premium.
When I have ordered these Analysis Reports, they have always come back within 24 hours, even over a bank holiday weekend. I find that this approach works well for me. To obtain an EKG reading in a hospital or doctor when there is an applicable medical event is next to impossible, the applicable medical event for me lasts less than 20 minutes and I clearly can not get to a hospital or doctor when it is happening, and by the time I get there, even in the best case, the event is long over so capturing the EKG then would be nearly pointless. Beside which, the hospital or doctor is going to charge me way more to even talk to me at that stage. 🙂 🙂
What I Like About Kardia Mobile
These are things that I like about Kardia Mobile which I have come across when using this since October 2016:
- Captures EKGs anytime anywhere. This allows me to obtain an EKG reading and Instant Result at anytime anywhere. I just need to have Kardia Mobile and my smartphone with me. No waiting around in medical facilities and no need to book medical appointments.
- If it detects that the EKG reading is Normal, it displays this result within a few seconds of completing the EKG. In my experience in a hospital setting, when they perform a EKG on me, they never tell me if it is good or otherwise. They keep me guessing. It may very well be the same with you.
- If it detects any possible atrial fibrillation, it displays this result within a few seconds of completing the EKG.
- If it does not detect a Normal reading or an AF reading, the result is unclassified and it displays this result within a few seconds of completing the EKG.
- Easy to use now. In the beginning, I found it difficult not really sure why. It may have been because I was stressed/anxious or it may be that the App itself has been updated to make it more likely that capturing EKGs is easier. Or more likely a combination of those two reasons.
- For me, about 1/3 of the EKGs, the App reports as Normal within a few seconds of capturing it. That is great. Knowing that quickly that there is nothing to be concerned about is great.
- For me for the other EKGs, I usually place an order with AliveCor for them to review that, along with their explanation/recommendation. For me so far, for about half of these, they come back with a “Green” traffic light. For about the other half, they come back with an “Orange” traffic light and an explanation with a recommendation. For me, there are currently two “Orange” traffic light medical results:
- One of those medical results is “Normal for me, however Abnormal for the general population”. My cardiologist informed me that I can safety ignore these.
- The second medical result is one where I email the applicable EKG graph and Analysis Report to her for her review. The one so far was benign however further ones may not be. It depends on number and speed of this particular result whether it is ok or not.
For me, so far, AliveCor have usually come back within 24 business hours which allows me to continue on with my life.
What I Do Not Like About Kardia Mobile
These are things that I do not like about Kardia Mobile which I have come across when using this since October 2016. I had to get a smartphone in order to use Kardia Mobile so cons about that are listed against Kardia Mobile in my case. If you already have a compatible smartphone this would not be the case for you.
- When using the device in the beginning, I found it difficult to capture EKGs not really sure why. It may have been because I was stressed/anxious or it may be that the App itself has been updated to make it more likely that capturing EKGs is easier. Or more likely a combination of those two reasons.
- I had to purchase a smartphone, and prior to purchasing the smartphone and the device, AliveCor were not able to confirm for me that that smartphone was compatible with their device. I am using that smartphone as a “hand-held computer”. I am not using it as a mobile phone because I can not carry it in my pocket like my old current trusty mobile phone. I am listing that I had to purchase a smartphone as a con as I use an old fashioned cell phone (or mobile phone) to make phone calls. I still do. The cell phone fits neatly into my pocket when on the move. The smartphone is bigger and can not fit into my pocket.
- I have to remember to bring the smartphone with me when I leave the house in case there is an applicable medical event.
Why I Recommend Kardia Mobile?
For me and my experience so far with this, I find that this is a brilliant tool and has great timely services behind the scenes built into their overall offerings which I also find great.
So far, the hard evidence that I captured with it for me, is indicating that my events are more related to my stress/anxiety health rather than my heart health, which is useful to know and allows me to focus in on that observation.
As I said earlier, I have been using Kardia Mobile since October 2016 and this is my story of using it so far.
Remember also I was recommended to Kardia Mobile by my cardiologist who recommended that it would be a useful tool for me to use. I have a heart related issue and also suffer from stress/anxiety, and it can be difficult to pin down the reason for an individual medical event.
In my case, it looks like the individual medical events are more related to my stress/anxiety, rather than my heart, which is really good to know. That is my case, your case may of course be completely different.
I explained how I use Kardia Mobile. I would imagine that other people may also use Kardia Mobile in a similar way and in other ways too. I would recommend that when you purchase Kardia Mobile that you work closely with your doctor and your cardiologist with any of the applicable results that it generates for you. It is important in my opinion that your medical team approve of you using Kardia Mobile especially if you have any health concerns so that you are working in conjunction with them.
I understand that many people record an EKG reading every day using Kardia Mobile as part of their overall health/fitness regime. This I understand is a popular way of using Kardia Mobile.
Of course, I have shown Kardia Mobile in action to another doctor that I saw and she was impressed with it too. Her comment was along the line of “sometimes patients show them things that they are not aware off”.
How Kardia Mobile Scores
For me, it is a practical way to capture EKGs. I like the Instant Results. Any of the EKGs that I generated with Kardia Mobile that I shared with my cardiologist, my cardiologist agreed with their results. I love it when the Instant Result is Normal because then I have peace of mind and can move on with the rest of my life.
If the Instant Result is unclassified, there is a short reasonable delay in getting a Kardia Mobile cardiac physiologist to do an Analysis Report. I explained this process in more detail elsewhere in this review. I find that the Instant Results along with any applicable Analysis Reports are good and practical. They are presented in such a way that I know if there is a need for me to contact my cardiologist or not.