A 12-Lead ECG for Everyone

Qmed Staff

October 15, 2013

3 Min Read
A 12-Lead ECG for Everyone

Electrocardiograms provide a tested method of diagnosing a variety of cardiac health problems. While some ECG systems are available for home use, no consumer-grade devices can provide the same level of accuracy as ECGs found in a cardiac lab or other healthcare facility. However, that may change in the future.

As of now, portable ECG systems are offered by companies like ECG Check and AliveCor, with both have received FDA clearance. However, most of these devices are single-lead ECGs as opposed to the 12-lead versions that are the standard clinically. (Note: AliveCor now has a working prototype of a mobile-enabled 12-lead ECG.) While such devices can be used to diagnose arrhythmias and other problems, their ability to detect  can infarction, ischemia, and other problems is limited, according to MobilECG Laboratories, a medtech startup founded in February 2013.

MobilECG Laboratories hopes to change this in the future. The company hopes to bring a consumer-grade ECG to the market with many of the features found on clinical-grade 12-lead ECGs. In an effort to build capital, the company launched a fundraising round on IndieGoGo. Like the aforementioned devices, the MobileECG Laboratories leverages consumer technology to reduce the cost of the end product. The device uses a USB connector to link to consumer devices.

With the device is in a working prototype phase and would enable patients to do clinical-grade ECG recordings from the comfort of their own homes. After recording an ECG, patients would then be able to share results with their physician and other healthcare professionals. In addition to reducing single-purpose health appointments, the new system can reduce costs. In addition, patients can receive a rapid diagnosis from their physician, alerting them to potentially serious cardiac issues very quickly.

The device is slated for release in 2014 and will carry an estimated price tag of $449. The company has yet to share specific plans for regulatory approval for the device. The IndieGoGo fundraising platform, however, will enable the company to certify the product as a diagnostic device, according to a promotional video.

The mobileECG platform joins an ever-growing range of cardiovascular platforms that interface with consumer technology. To name but a few, there are the aforementioned AliveCor and, ECG Check technologeis; the AirStrip Technologies platform for sending cardiac images; the SmartHeart ECG system, which pairs a portable device to smartphones. Such platforms offer the ability of using consumer device connectivity to send ECG data to physicians or hospitals for diagnosis.

Still, it remains uncertain how broadly consumer ECG will penetrate society. While the ECG test is a common cardiac test, the results are difficult for most consumers to interpret without the help of a cardiologist or a highly intelligent algorithm. Such technology, however, could expand the demand for ECG testing in remote locations and in the developing world.

A video explaining how the technology works is available on YouTube.

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