AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L Review: The pocket cardiologist

KardiaMobile 6L main

The CDC estimates that 12.1 million Americans will suffer from Atrial Fibrillation(AFib) by 2030. AFib is the most common heart arrhythmia and occurs when the lower and upper chambers of the heart do not beat in sync. The AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L offers an FDA cleared 6 leads electrocardiogram (EKG) that relies on powerful Artificial Intelligence algorithms to detect possible Atrial Fibrillation in just 30 seconds. All of that from the comfort of your home. The companion app. provides an initial assessment. The EKG can be analyzed by US-Board certified cardiologist when subscribing to the KardiaCare service. We extensively tested this clever device. $149 is a small price to pay to get peace of mind, and always bring a cardiologist in your pocket.

Price when reviewed: $149.00


What is a 6-lead electrocardiogram?

Electrocardiograms record the electrical activities of the heart. The higher the number of electrodes, the better the resolution and the higher the number of conditions to potentially identify. The 6-lead Kardiamobile comes with 3 electrodes (one for each thumb and the third on the left knee or ankle). It means that the flow of electricity is analyzed according to 6 different axes (I, II, III, aVR, aVL, aVF).

Even though the clinical Gold-standard for electrocardiograms requires 12 leads, 6 leads have been deemed sufficient for certain clinical and research applications.

The 6L KardiaMobile really shines when it comes to signal recordings. I am not a cardiologist, but I somehow spent numerous years dealing with electrophysiological recordings. Artifacts and background noises were our worst nightmare constraining us to work in Faraday cages. The 6-lead-ECG and heart rhythm data were really clean, even though some movements were visible during the recording.

How to use the KardiaMobile-6L?

AliveCor aims at providing information to users when it comes to arrhythmia, for which it is FDA-cleared. The 6-lead ECG report provided can somehow be used for many more diagnostics. With its three stainless-steel electrodes, the device is stylish, light (0.85 ounces), and small (3.54 inches long x 1.11 inches wide x 0.28 inches).

It is clearly a portable ECG device that easily fits in any pocket or bag (even though we do not see why you would record your ECG several times a day).

My wife and my own EKGs. Both are detected as normal even despite the clear movements visible on mine.

A long lasting battery and easy bluetooth pairing

We appreciated the fact that the device comes with a battery and does not need to be charged. The included 3V CR2016 coin cell battery is given for 200 hours of ECG monitoring. Considering that it takes 30 seconds to record the electrocardiogram and heart rate, it equates to 24,000 analyses without worrying about the battery.

The KardiaMobile-6L is very easy to use. Just download the Kardia app. on the Apple Store or Google Play store, turn on the Bluetooth on your phone, and the device will be automatically detected. We did not have any pairing issue when using an iPhone 8. The App will ask you to enter your name, height, gender, email and create an account. Everything is set in less than a couple of minutes, and the device is ready to assess your heart health.

Starting an electrocardiogram recording is also straightforward. Press the “RECORD YOUR EKG” button, choose the “Single-Lead ECG” or “Six-Lead EKG” mode and position your thumbs and knee in contact with the two front electrodes and the back one, respectively. The recording will start automatically once the proper skin contacts are detected.

Check my ECG video below. You will see the result of a heart attack. Truly fascinating to see the graph slowly appearing on the phone screen. The recording can be set from 30 seconds to up to 5 minutes in the EKG settings, even though the automated analyses are only done on the first 30 seconds of recordings. It is to be noted that the app also lets you enter blood pressure and interacts seamlessly with Apple Health.

What heart-conditions can be detected?

The AliveCore KardiaMobile 6L is FDA-cleared for detecting warning signs of heart-rhythms abnormalities. Once the recording is completed, the AI-powered Kardia Determinations are displayed as Normal, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, Unclassified, or Possible Atrial Fibrillation.

A pdf report can also be sent to your doctor or even shared with a board-certified cardiologist that will send you back its diagnostics. It will cost you $25 for a single analysis. We think that this amazing little personal ECG device really shines when combined to the Kardia Plan. Having the possibility to get the first determination is good, but we wanted more.

The KardiaCare plan is a serious add-on but is not free

AliveCore offers the option to expand the possibilities of the KardiaMobile 6L. The KardiaCare plan costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. As much as the device is impressive, the KardiaCare plan is really like having a cardiologist in your pocket. It offers the followings:

  • A “real” board-certified cardiologist will review your EKG 4 times a year,
  • The data will not only be recorded on your phone but also backed up in the cloud,
  • Additional determinations: Sinus Rhythms with supraventricular ectopy, Sinus rhythm with Premature ventricular contractions, and Sinus Rhythm with wide QRS,
  • Monthly EKG health summary report,
  • Medication tracking: We were impressed by how it was to enter them,
  • The possibility to replace the device for less than $20 in case of loss.

An additional $99 is certainly not neutral, especially after a $149 investment. We felt a bit frustrated not to get more information. As a side note, we regret that the payment for the KardiaCare plan had to be done using a credit card and that it was not possible to use the Apple Store, Google Store, or even Paypal.

To wrap up

We asked a very experienced cardiologist to review the electrocardiograms we recorded and give us his honest opinion. To him, the quality was good enough for detecting abnormal heart rhythms but not sufficient for other heart diseases. The KardiaMobile-6L has been designed and FDA-cleared to detect arrhythmia and will not replace a clinical 12-Lead analysis for clinical cardiology.

We also have been wondering who may be the beneficiaries of such a device. AFib patients are indeed a clear target, as well as people experiencing symptoms (dizziness, palpitation, shortness of breath,…) but unwilling to go to the doctor. As a screening tool, we think that it could also be beneficial. The KardiaMobile-6L would undoubtedly benefit from additional sensors, such as PPG sensors, to check the blood pressure and potentially inform users of other heart conditions.

As a standalone device or in combination with the KardiaCare plan, it somehow has plenty to offer for those serious about their heart health. A home-EKG should be seen as a long-term health investment and as a way to get critical heart information quickly easily and accurately.


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