By Mike Sokol
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a very interesting portable ECG (or EKG if you’re in Germany) test device called the KardiaMobile 6L, and said that it could possibly save your life. That’s because many of us normally have to wait for a doctor’s orders for an ECG and maybe only have one every year or so. With this portable device device and a smartphone you can take your own ECG every day if you like, compile the results, and send them to your cardiologist for interpretation.
I became interested in this technology last month after my 91-year-old father resisted going into the local medical center for an ECG after feeling a little pressure in his chest recently. Like many of us, he’s not comfortable sitting in a waiting room with a bunch of sick people with the possibility of catching COVID-19. But we did do a Zoom meeting with his cardiologist the next day, who said we could delay an office ECG for a few weeks since all other things looked normal. Anyway, Dad suspected it was due to the big bowl of bean soup he ate the night before which gave him a lot of gas (I kid you not).
So, me being the guy who loves to measure everything, I contacted AliveCor® about their KardiaMobile 6L. I explained to them about the millions of senior RVers who probably should be monitoring their own heart health while they’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from their regular doctor. They agreed and quickly sent me a test unit to experiment with.
I’m now scheduled to speak to one of the KardiaMobile designers and can ask him any technical questions I like. What’s not to love? For a guy like me this is like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped up in one. I’m always excited to learn new things and talk to brilliant minds. (I really regret never getting to meet Carl Sagan)
No bigger than a pack of gum, this little piece of gear performs a vitally important 6-Lead ECG on you in 30 seconds. And there are a number of leading cardiologists on the AliveCor website that say this is the real thing and could be a great tool to help diagnose your heart problems remotely. Read my overview of what this is and how it works in my previous article HERE.
Here’s my actual ECG I took with the KardiaMobile 6L last week. First and foremost, I would like to report that I do have a heartbeat, and according to my own doctor (who ran an ECG on me a few months ago in her office), I’m in perfect heart-health. And while visiting your doctor is very important, I think that being able to gather daily data on your heart can help your doctor look for warning signs that might go unnoticed until your next checkup.
This portable KardiaMobile 6-Lead ECG is amazingly simple to use. After you download the app on your smartphone and set up a few parameters, you just launch the app, choose a 1-Lead or 6-Lead test, place your fingers on the two top contacts, and hold the third contact on your left ankle or knee for the 6-lead test. It then automatically starts recording your 30-second ECG.
I’ve also used the KardiaMobile 6L to take ECGs of my son who had heart surgery a decade ago, as well as my guitar player buddy of 40 years who is monitoring his heart for a potential valve replacement. Plus, I’m testing my 91-year-old father every day, since he did have a mild heart attack 6 months ago.
The beauty of the KardiaMobile 6L is that you can use it to take a 1-Lead ECG of yourself or spouse just by placing two fingers on it. Or to perform a 6-Lead ECG you need to also make contact with the bare skin of your left knee or ankle. As soon as you have a solid connection on all three contacts, the ECG recording on your smartphone begins. The App then asks if this is you (the registered owner that it’s keeping track of) or someone else. You can enter all sorts of other information in a notes section on the same ECG chart, making it very easy to keep everything in one place.
For my dad’s ECG data that I’ve been gathering every day I also include his blood pressure and temperature, and I’m considering getting an O2 sensor as well. All that data can be entered on the ECG chart in the smartphone, which you can then use to generate a password-protected PDF file to email or text to your physician (or whoever else you want to share this with).
The final part of the puzzle is that I’m now contacting the doctors of my various test subjects to see if they can use these daily ECG charts to assist with an online Zoom meeting checkup they can perform quarterly, monthly or even weekly, depending on your particular medical needs. At least one of these doctors thinks this is a billable consult that insurance companies will pay for, and which provides valuable diagnostic data for seniors. That’s important because doctors need to bill for their time, and you really want your insurance company to pay for it.
So, stay tuned for Part 3 in a month or so after I gather enough data and get responses back from the three different cardiologists I’m in contact with. I really do believe that just like electrical safety, heart health is a vitally important thing for each of us, so I’m glad to share all that I’m learning with you. What do you think makes a heart beat anyway? Yep, it fits into the electrical category – just sayin’.
For more information on this amazing technology that could save your life, find out more about the 6L on the AliveCor site HERE. And you can order it on Amazon.com HERE or find it at Best Buy and other technology stores.
So stay tuned and let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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