KardiaBand Heart EKG Reader Is First Apple Watch Medical Accessory With FDA Approval

We talked not too long ago about a study that had found that the Apple Watch might be usable for detecting high blood pressure and sleep apnea, thanks to the sensitivity of its heart rate monitor and an accompanying app. This week marks the first actual FDA approved accessory for the Apple Watch that is able to monitor health conditions, which just so happens to be the KardiaBand by AliveCor. The device is a personal electrocardiogram or EKG.


The KardiaBand connects to the Apple Watch like any other accessory band, but it has tech inside that allows the wearer to discreetly take their heart rate and capture EKG data from nearly anywhere. The band is reportedly able to quickly detect a normal sinus heart rhythm and can detect potentially deadly atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart arrhythmia.

KardiaBand is able to record an EKG in 30 seconds with nothing more than a touch of the integrated sensors against the wearer's arm. The result of the readings are shown on the face of the Apple Watch. KardiaBand works along with the new SmartRhythm feature on the Kardia app for the Apple Watch. SmartRhythm uses AI with input from the Apple Watch heart rate and activity sensors to evaluate and correlate heart rate activity with physical activity and determine if the two are out of sync.

"KardiaBand paired with SmartRhythm technology will be life-changing for people who are serious about heart health," said Vic Gundotra, CEO, AliveCor. "These capabilities will allow people to easily and discreetly check their heart rhythms when they may be abnormal, capturing essential information to help doctors identify the issue and inform a clear path of care to help manage AFib, a leading cause of stroke, and other serious conditions."

The KardiaBand is available now for $199 and does require a subscription to the Alivecor premium service to function, which costs $99 per year. That fee gets the user unlimited SmartRhythm notifications on the Apple Watch, unlimited EKG recordings, automatic detection of Atrial Fibrillation, and the ability to send unlimited readings to others via email.

"This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare," said Dr. Ronald P. Karlsberg, MD FACC, Board Certified Cardiologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA. "With an EKG device on the wrist, AFib can be detected wherever the patient is, 24 hours a day. In randomized research trials, KardiaMobile, the first AliveCor EKG device, proved to be superior to routine care provided by physicians. Today, KardiaBand is a giant leap in personalized health care."