The AliveCor Kardia Mobile is a hand-held device which records a single heart trace when both thumbs are placed on the sensor pads. When an app is downloaded to a mobile phone, the trace can be viewed on the screen. Irregular heart beats can be seen, enabling patients with Atrial Fibrillation to be identified. The manufacturers suggest that the AliveCor trace is sufficient to be a clear indication of AF, although many doctors follow up this single trace with a full ECG before commencing medication. Nevertheless, the AliveCor is a useful mobile tool which can be used by GPs visiting patients in their home, particularly if the visit is the result of a ‘funny turn’.
Alternatively, healthcare assistants could use the AliveCor as a preliminary screening tool to detect the 2-3% of patients with undiagnosed AF, enabling them to receive treatment before they suffer a devastating stroke. Some patients who are suspected of paroxysmal AF, but which has not been detected by the usual monitoring processes, may choose to purchase their own AliveCor so that they can record their heart trace when they feel they are having an episode, and so enable a doctor to judge whether to treat or not.