Wellue is not new to the world of medical devices. The company offers a wide range of Continuous Oxygen Monitors such as the Wellue O2 ring we already reviewed, EKG monitors and machines, Wireless Handled Ultrasound machines, PAP machines, Vital Signs Monitors, and Blood Pressure monitors.
Their devices that can be used at home or in clinics offer an excellent compromise between highly-priced clinical-grade medical devices and more affordable products that provide an easy and affordable way to assess potential medical conditions before conducting exams in a hospital setting.
At-home EKG monitors to detect irregular heart rhythm already exist. Wellue has its own DuoEK, and even ECG smartwatches such as the Apple Watch or the Fitbit Charge 5, or Fitbit Sense allow to record and analyze FDA-cleared 30 seconds electrocardiograms while on the go.
With the 24-hour ECG monitored coupled to AI-analysis, Wellue aims at bridging the gap between short-term ECG analysis and long-duration Holter monitoring.
24-hour ECG Monitor by Wellue
Price when reviewed: $295.90
What are the benefits of a 24-hour continuous electrocardiogram?
Up to now, Holter monitoring recordings have been conducted in clinical settings under the supervision of a cardiologist. By recording, the electrical signals generated by the heart for up to 48 hours, it was possible to detect irregular heartbeat patterns, identify heart disease or check the efficacy of a pacemaker or a specific treatment for arrhythmia.
Despite its many benefits, standard Holter monitoring had and still has a couple of drawbacks. First, most Holter monitor devices come with wires, electrodes, and a recording unit that must be carried and attached to your waist for the exam duration.
Even if the accuracy of a multi-lead ECG recording can not be compared to a single-lead electrocardiogram, the use of at-home 24-hour continuous electrocardiograms offers a convenient way to detect potential heart problems.
The Wellue 24-hour ECG monitor comes with an FDA-cleared Artificial Intelligence-powered algorithm trained on more than 300,000 patients that can first indicate the results.
It is somehow critical not to use such at-home long-duration ECG recording as a self-assessment diagnostic tool. It will never replace a clinical-grade Holter monitoring interpreted by a cardiologist and is not a medical device per se.
Atrial fibrillation(AF) is a leading cause of ischemic stroke, yet it generally has little or no symptoms, making diagnosis challenging. In 2018, Mintu P. Turakhia, from Stanford University School of Medicine, conducted a retrospective study of the number of AF remaining undiagnosed. He concluded that 13.1% of AF cases were undiagnosed, especially in the elderly population.
Such a device offers an easy and cost-effective way to conduct the first screening and detect atrial fibrillation or other heart diseases in settings where medical professionals or doctors are not readily available.
What is in the box?
The ECG monitor comes as a 100*23*8.3 mm flexible rubberized strip attached to the chest using the included chest strap or the provided chest electrodes. These electrodes are standard 3M ECG electrodes. Ten are included, and additional ones can be bought from Wellue’s website or your local pharmacy.
Are also included a charging and data transfer cable. One end clips to the ECG strip, and the other is a standard USB plug. A USB drive contains the software Wellue ECG Browser, compatible with Windows 7/8/10 and macOS 10.15 or above, to download, save the data recorded and get the results of the AI analysis.
The ECG strip is rated IP22 waterproof, which means that it can only resist minimal water dripping or sweat. So take care not to bathe or shower while wearing the ECG monitor.
Powered by an included lithium battery, it only takes 2 hours to charge the device up to 90%, and a full charge will provide up to 72 hours of running time.
With a weight of less than 1.23 oz, the Wellue ECG monitor is comfortable to wear and hardly noticeable. We somehow found that the signal was much cleaner when used with the electrodes than the chest band. When clipped to the chest band and especially when moving or at night, the signal could easily be lost, resulting in the acquisition of multiple files and the need to analyze them independently.
What can you learn from the Wellue 24-hour monitor with AI analysis?
Positioning the monitor is simple. Once correctly positioned, the device will vibrate, and a green light will blip each time a heartbeat is detected. We had no problem sleeping with the ECG monitor. Just remember not to shower or bathe while wearing it.
Once recorded, the ECG can be downloaded to a computer by connecting the ECG monitor to the USB port using the provided adapter.
The Wellue ECG Browser will let you upload the data in the cloud for AI analysis. However, we have recently been asked by a reader about how the data were handled by the different companies offering such devices.
In our opinion, we consider the HIPAA and GDPR to be strong enough to upload our data for analysis. However, for those with concerns about their privacy, we also suggest creating a dedicated and anonymized email allowing them to upload and retrieve the data anonymously.
The software allows checking the whole length of the ECG recording. In some instances, we noticed that the signal was lost or suffered from interferences. However, the results were somehow very satisfactory when considering that the electrodes were worn for 24 hours.
Once acquired, the next step is to upload the data and let the AI algorithm generates the report. It took approximately 15 mins for the report to become available directly in the Wellue ECG Browser.
Wellue 24-hour ECG monitor report
The report consisted of five pages divided in
- Report overview
- Supraventricular rhythm
- Ventricular Rhythm
- HRV: We were pleasantly surprised by the number of indicators used to calculate the HRV
- ECG Report Conclusion
- Hourly Statistic Table of ECG Data
- ECG Fragments for Overall Max/Min Heart Rate
- Events Detection: In our case, two events were detected (couplet of premature ventricular contraction), and an overall normal sinus rhythm was detected.
The FDA-cleared AI analysis offers the possibility to detect numerous heart rate anomalies including PVC(Premature Ventricular Contraction), PVC Bigeminy, PVC Trigeminy, Ventricular Tachycardia, PAC(Premature Supraventricular Contraction), Couplet of PAC, PAC Trigeminy, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Atrial flutter, Atrial fibrillation, Overall maximum heart rate, Overall minimum heart rate, and HRV.
With so much to offer, it is expected that the AI will detect some anomalies that could mostly be linked to the transient shift in the quality of the recording.
Overall, the Wellue ECG monitor is a powerful device that offers the possibility to conduct a preliminary arrhythmia analysis from the comfort of your home. The report can be downloaded, and in case of doubts, we strongly suggest that you share it with your doctor or a qualified medical professional.
A 30 second ECG analysis conducted with a smartwatch or at-home EKG device may not be enough to detect transient events. Being able to record an EKG for 24 hours or more allows for much more accuracy. In addition, the possibility to get an instant report and share it with your doctor can undoubtedly help in detecting Atrial Fibrillation or other types of arrhythmia.
Digital health allows patients not to be passive anymore and to manage their health and check their vitals actively. As long as the treatments and diagnosis remain in the doctor’s hand, new devices such as the Wellue 24-hour ECG monitor have the potential to become part of a fully integrated healthcare journey.
An iOS/Android app for real-time monitoring
The Wellue 24-hour ECG monitor also connects with the VicHealth App available for iOS and Android for real-time ECG/EKG monitoring. Just hold the device with your thumbs, and the data will be transmitted directly to your phone. Thus, it becomes possible to get instant feedback and record up to 30 minutes.
The app is interesting for educational purposes or recording a palpitation event while on the go to later share with your doctor.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to use
- AI-powered algorithms
- 24 hours ECG acquisition
- The number of information provided may be overwhelming
- The signals can be noisy when moving
The Wellue 24-hour ECG/EKG recorded is a clever device that can potentially detect palpitations and make the most of its AI algorithms and report sharing capabilities to help your doctor establish a diagnostic and lower the percentage of undetected Atrial Fibrillations.
The device is not a medical device and is not meant to replace clinical Holter monitoring. Instead, it somehow offers a new way to take control of your heart health.