How to Check Your Heart Rate Using Your Own EKG Monitor

Doctor holding a digital tablet with a live recorded ecg on it. On the desk in the background is a stethoscope.

The healthy lub-dub sound of your heart valves is one that many people take for granted until they experience or are diagnosed with a heart condition. Things like arrhythmia (irregular heart rate), valvular disease (damage or defects in one of your heart valves), or a history of heart attacks can cause you to become concerned about your cardiac health. As a result, you may want to become more proactive about monitoring your heart rate. Thanks to medical technology, you no longer have to go to the doctor to have an electrocardiogram. You can purchase your own EKG monitor and use it in your own home at your convenience.

What is an At-Home EKG monitor?

An at-home EKG monitor is a portable monitor that you can easily use at home. Sometimes, you can just hold your fingers on the device’s sensors to check your heart rate. Depending on the model you choose, your device may be able to send results to your doctor via Wi-Fi, or transfer the results over the telephone. EKG monitors offer convenience and flexibility, allowing you to deliver your results to your doctor without leaving your home.

Popular At-Home EKG Monitors

There are many at-home EKG monitors available on the market today. They vary based on technological complexity, cost, and the way in which they deliver information to medical professionals. Here are a few inexpensive EKG monitors that you can use in your own home:

  • EMAY portable EKG: This EKG is very inexpensive at $99, and it doesn’t require a smartphone for use. However, it does have smart capabilities to connect with your electronic devices and share with your doctor. One physician indicated that a wonderful feature of this device was clear guidelines as to which readings mean a person needs to get to the emergency room. 
  • AliveCor Kardia Mobile: AliveCor’s model is even less expensive than EMAY’s at $89. It also uses finger/hand sensors for easy, medical-grade readings. The company advertises FDA-approved algorithms. Some customers complain that there is an eventual requirement to pay for a monthly service to fully use the device. 
  • SonoHealth Portable EKG: This portable EKG is much more complex and includes finger sensors and chest leads, which can detect a greater number of abnormalities. 
  • ViATOM’s ECG Monitor: ViATOM’s portable electrocardiogram may be useful for some, but others indicated that it picked up a lot of “noise” that interfered with readings. Other positive reviews indicated it was very simple to use. 
  • Vive Precision EKG Monitor: This EKG is also small, portable, rechargeable, and easy-to-use. It’s the least expensive at $79.99 and connects to smart devices. Some reviewers reported inaccurate readings, but others stated it worked as intended. 

When to Go to the Emergency Room

Talk to your doctor about your specific heart condition, and which symptoms or indicators on the EKG monitor will tell you that you need to get to the emergency room immediately. In many cases, a healthcare professional from the doctor’s office will call you and tell you to get to the ER, after receiving an important medical alert reading from your at-home EKG. That is why it is so important to keep a portable EKG at home, so you can monitor your heart rate, and your doctor can monitor your heart rate, anytime day or night, without you having to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

For more informative articles on healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. To take an online healthcare course, visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy website.

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