Cleveland Clinic researchers evaluate Smartphone ECG in post AFib ablation care

By | April 9, 2021

Direct-to-consumer ECGs could have a role in care for patients post atrial fibrillation ablation, according to a recent study published in the Cardiovascular Digital Health Journal.  

Cleveland Clinic researchers found that patients using AliveCor Kardia Mobile required fewer follow up EGCs or cardiac monitoring than their peers in the control group.

In the study, patients were able to record their heart rhythm with a small connected device that’s paired with a corresponding smartphone app that could interpret the rhythm as normal or atypical.

“Smartphone ECG with a cloud-based platform can be incorporated into the care of post–AF ablation patients without increasing anxiety and with less need for additional traditional monitors,” the authors of the paper wrote.

The study was funded by AliveCor, and one of the authors disclosed ties with the company. The research adherence to the Helsinki Declaration for human research.


Researchers found that 27% of patients in the control group required additional EGS or cardiac monitors, compared to 5.9% of patients in the intervention group.

During the 100-person study, AF was detected in 18 patients. That breaks down to 11 patients in the self-monitoring group and seven in the control group. Authors of the study noted that this was not a significant difference. Researchers also wrote that both groups had similar rates of healthcare utilization and anxiety changes.


Study participants had to be between the ages of 18 and 85 in order to be included, and have a smartphone or tablet. All participants had a history of paroxysmal or persistent AF and were “presenting for their 3-to 4-month follow-up after successful AF ablation as defined in the study protocol.”

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Patients were evenly split into two groups, one receiving the standard of care and a self-monitoring group. All patients in the self-monitoring group were provided with the Kardia Mobile device and app.

Patients in the intervention group were instructed to record a tracing once a week, which would be automatically uploaded to a cloud-based platform. Those readings were accessible to the care teams. The Kardia Mobile software was able to detect abnormal readings and sent an alert to the treating clinicians.

Patients were measured at the six-month follow up period.


Within the last decade we’ve seen an uptick in patient- and consumer-facing ECGs. Apple scored de novo in 2018 for its ECG reading, which first went live on the Apple Watch Series 4. This kicked off a slew of other consumer wearable companies turning to the ECG space.

For example, Withings announced its ScanWatch, which included ECG and Sp02 sensor capabilities, and Fitbit unveiled a slew of new wearables that also included an ECG feature. 


“The study provides an example of a new cardiovascular care model that utilizes digital health devices supported by platforms that enable patients to generate, view and share their data with their healthcare providers,” authors of the report wrote.

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