As smartwatches and fitness trackers get better, this ambitious heart monitor takes it up a notch with non-stop ECG tracking.
As smartwatches and fitness trackers get better, this ambitious heart monitor takes it up a notch with non-stop ECG tracking. Bioheart could help prevent heart disease and potentially save lives.
Monitoring heart health can help prevent and manage various heart diseases. Nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle form the most important aspects of a healthy heart. Meanwhile, gaining key insights about your heart is equally important for preventive care. Fitness trackers can help with this to an extent but are limited in functionality. That’s where a continuous heart monitoring system like Bioheart comes in.
Fitness trackers and smartwatches can measure heart rate and alert you when it crosses the normal threshold. However, electrical data can tell much more about your heart than just the beats per minute (BPM). Bioheart is a heart monitor, worn directly around the chest, that measures your heart’s electrical activity with high accuracy.
Created by the California-based medical technology company Biotricity, Bioheart is the only remote patient monitoring (RPM) device of its kind that can record the heart’s electrical activity 24/7. Let’s take a closer look at how it does that.
Bioheart comes packed in a sturdy carry case along with all the accessories you need to use it. Inside the box, you'll find the Bioheart device, a mountable strap, and a charger. The device itself is quite small and lightweight. It’s approximately 2.5 inches in diameter and can fit in the palm of your hand.
It has a large round LED notification on the top to communicate status. Unfortunately, Bioheart does not have Type-C charging and requires a Micro USB cable. The battery, on the other hand, does last long. You can use the device continuously for just under 48 hours. However, 10-12 hours of use per day can give a battery life of around three days.
The fabric strap, on which Bioheart mounts, can be washed and is quite breathable. You can adjust the strap for a snug fit and wear it comfortably for hours. Bioheart firmly locks in place via four pins. If you follow the steps mentioned in the instruction manual, you can set up the device in minutes and begin using it.
The first step is to download the Bioheart app from Play Store or App Store. Begin by creating your account and filling out the necessary profile details. Then, you need to pair it with the device. Make sure it is mounted on the strap and the Bluetooth is switched on. Your Bioheart model will appear on the app. Once paired, the LED notification will switch to a blue color.
Download: Bioheart for Android | iOS (Free)
Before you begin using it, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Under the Device tab in the app, check for the latest firmware update. If there’s one, let it download and install. Next, check the current battery level in the same tab. If required, charge it before first use.
The Bioheart app is where all the data measured by the device is stored. In the Summary tab, you can find detailed statistics about heart health here. You can view the real-time electrocardiogram (ECG) in the Heart Rhythm tab. You can also take a “snapshot” of this ECG data and export it as a PDF or image.
While Bioheart can measure electrical activity 24/7, you can only create up to five-minute-long “snapshots” of your ECG. Firstly, ensure that you have mounted the device correctly on the strap. Align the device pins with those on the strap for a secure fit. The next most important step is to have good body contact.
The strap is worn on the center of the chest, right below the sternum. And it needs to have skin contact. In the Device tab, you can see an indicator that tells you if the device is in optimal contact with your body. Additionally, you can also observe the LED light. The blinking blue light should turn into a steady green on good skin contact. Therefore, try to adjust the strap for a tight fit.
Click on the “View Heart Rhythm” in the Device tab for the real-time ECG of your heart. To create a snapshot, click "Start Recording" and select the duration. You can select a time of up to five minutes. Fill out the notes for the snapshot beforehand. This includes information such as symptoms, time of the data, title, etc.
Remain stationary as the ECG is recorded. Once completed, you can view the recorded ECG under Heart Rhythm. Now, you can export this snapshot as a PDF or long image directly to your physician.
Bioheart houses medical-grade sensors that produce three true views of the heart. To put it into perspective, the Apple Watch can produce only a singular view of the heart. By having multiple views of the heart, doctors can accurately detect any abnormalities in the heart rhythm.
From the moment you wear the device, it starts measuring and transmitting data to the app. That gives you access to ECG data at any time of the data. In the Summary tab, you can open the heart rate of any day and time. Furthermore, select a snapshot for that instance, label it, and export it.
The only closest consumer device that compares to Bioheart is the Apple Watch. You can only record a 30-second ECG on the watch manually. On the other hand, Bioheart automatically records comprehensive and accurate ECGs all day long. For someone with heart disease, this is a leap in preventive care. Even the slightest irregular rhythm or atrial fibrillation can be detected accurately.
There is no doubt that Bioheart’s data has the potential to prevent and effectively manage heart disease. However, there are a few shortcomings of this ecosystem. Bioheart is great at gathering accurate heart data but you still need to send it to a physician for analysis. While professional analysis is irreplaceable, there needs to be a preliminary analysis within the app.
For example, when you take an ECG on the Apple Watch, it tells you if your heart rhythm is normal or not. A basic classification of heart rhythm within the app can help you understand what the data means. Also, there is a lack of an alert system if the heart rhythm crosses an abnormal threshold.
The Bioheart ecosystem could also benefit from an automated doctor-patient loop.
At present, you need to manually send the data and health reports to your doctor. Automated report sharing could eliminate this step and sync your data with your physician. Thereby, further reducing the time taken for diagnosis.
Telehealth primarily relies on real-time communication and accurate remote patient monitoring. According to AHA, every 40 seconds someone suffers a heart attack in the US. Bioheart can improve remote patient monitoring significantly. Especially, for senior citizens. Doctors can use this data to diagnose and treat heart rhythm irregularities with minimal in-person visits.
This improves accessibility to telehealth services and also its accuracy. Most importantly, it can help cut long-term costs. At best, Bioheart is a preventive care device. It can help detect early signs of heart disease. Therefore, this means saving on recurring medical tests, expensive procedures, in-person visits, and prescriptions.
If you have a family history of heart disease or suffer from it, then Bioheart is one of the most useful health devices you can own. It can give you crucial insights into your heart health from the comfort of your home. People who operate under stressful conditions or have overlapping health conditions such as obesity can also benefit from using it.
However, if you’re a just fitness enthusiast, then this is probably not for you. A fitness tracker can give you all the information you need. While the company states that Bioheart is not a medical device, it is best suited for remote patients.
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Manan is a technical writer at MakeUseOf. With a degree in Journalism, he has been covering the drone industry since 2018 and has written several in-depth guides for the Flykit Blog. He is passionate about emerging technology, Age of Empires, and writing cool sci-fi stories.
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