First Apple Watch Accessory Could Detect Heart Problems, Cleared By FDA

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The FDA has cleared the first Apple watch accessory known as AliveCor’s KardiaBand. The accessory could detect heart problems such as dangerous heart rhythms. This band could check on-the-spot EKG readings in a Bluetooth-connected strap.

Besides identifying the heart rhythms, the KardiaBand also detects problems such as the atrial fibrillation, which is a type of heart arrhythmia. It utilizes your finger or thumb to complete an electrical circuit through two metal contacts, namely one for your finger and the other rests against your wrist, according to CNet.

The AliveCor KardiaBand monitors the heart rate by also working with the Apple Watch sensors. Then, it will message you to an extra EKG reading when something is wrong with your heart rate. Meanwhile, the on-the-spot EKG reading will take about 30 seconds, and can gauge you while you are stationary.

The FDA clearance allows AliveCor to sell and market the band as a medical device. The users do not need the approval of doctors to use it.

AliveCor CEO and former Google exec Vic Gundotra said that the average consumer does not know what a normal sinus rhythm looks like, or what atrial fibrillation looks like. However, the FDA has cleared their individual algorithms. They have the clinical studies to prove it, according to Gundotra.


The device also uses AI to identify the range of heart and EKG readings if they are correct for the users. The users could then check their heart rhythms when there seems to be something wrong, Then, the device could provide information to doctors to determine the medical heart condition and to attend to patients or users. The device will also advise you to have an accurate EKG test if it detects problems, according to Engadget.


The device could work with Apple Watch Series 1, 2, and 3 models. The AliveCor KardiaBand costs about $200 and is now available on the market. However, you will be needing a premium $99 per year ($10 per month) subscription to have all the features and analysis. This includes the cloud storage and the weight and blood pressure measurements. There is also an analysis provided by either a Cardiac Technician for $9 with one-hour turnaround, or a U.S. Board Certified cardiologist for $19 for 24 hours.