What is an ECG?
If you or someone you love has had heart problems, you’ve probably heard the term ECG (or EKG—the two terms are interchangeable). You might know that it’s a test used to examine the electrical activity of your heart, but like many others, you may not be aware of what it does exactly, and the different types of tests that are available.
ECG, or electrocardiogram, provides your doctor with an electrical recording of your heart rhythm. This allows the doctor to see whether your rhythm is irregular, to see signs that may be causing chest pain or lead to a heart attack, and track how well treatments prescribed by the doctor are working.
The most common type of ECG is a 12 lead ECG. Just as the name implies, it includes 12 channels—or electrodes—looking at the electrical activation of the heart from 12 different perspectives. It’s similar to the dozens of camera angles you can see of each driver during a Formula 1 event. A 12 lead ECG can also be recorded at rest or during exercise.
Another widely used ECG is a Holter monitor. This is a device that typically records only 3-5 channels while the patient goes about their everyday activities. Holters are used to record data over anywhere from 24 hours to 14 days.
These are incredibly important tools that cardiologists can use to help diagnose their patients’ heart problems. Since the first ECG test was developed in 1901 by William Einthoven they have saved and prolonged countless lives.
Typically, ECGs require an in-person visit, where the test is performed at the doctor’s office, or the patient is given a take-home test such as a Holter monitor. Once completed, the monitoring device is then mailed or brought back to the cardiologist’s office where the results are interpreted, which can take a few days to a week. When all is said and done, the time between the test and receiving the results can be weeks or even months.
Skiin changes all of that.
Despite its importance for cardiologists, health care practitioners, and patients, current ECG technology is lacking in many ways. Skiin revolutionizes this technology, which is key to providing a better quality of care to patients.
- Remote communities: Those living in rural or remote communities often have reduced access to healthcare. They may have to travel hours just to see their cardiologist. If their cardiologist orders an at-home Holter monitor test the patient will either be required to travel to their cardiologist’s office twice to pick up and return the test, or will need to wait weeks (or even months) to send back the equipment and receive results. These delays can have profound negative effects on a patient’s health. By contrast, Skiin is delivered straight to the patient’s home, and the information collected is immediately available to the patient’s care team. There is no need to travel to an office or clinic to have a Holter attached to the patient.
- Wait times: It can take weeks or even months for a patient to see their cardiologist in the first place. Once they do, their cardiologist may order a take-home ECG test. After completing the test and sending the hardware back, it can take weeks or even months for the patient to receive their results. By wearing Skiin, patients are able to send daily ECG readings to their cardiology team without having to lift a finger, cutting down on long wait times and the stress that comes with them.
- Sample size: Current ECG technology can only provide a snapshot of the patient’s current cardiac health. By wearing Skiin everyday, patients are constantly and continuously sending information about their heart to their cardiology team, providing them with a powerful diagnostic tool to help treat the patient’s health.
- Awkward and uncomfortable: Anyone who has ever worn a Holter monitor knows just how cumbersome and annoying they can be. With tangled wires and sticky glue that’s difficult to wash off, these tests can be frustrating and uncomfortable. By contrast, the Skiin line of connected clothing has been designed to be worn comfortably all day long. Using stretchy, soft-woven materials, such as bamboo and spandex, they can be worn all day and night without even noticing they’re there.
Along with Skiin’s ability to capture a patient’s ECG data, patients will also be able to use the Skiin Connected Life app’s Diary feature to record and log any symptoms they have right when they happen. These entries will be shared with their cardiac care team, who can then use this data to compare with the patient’s ECG data.
The combination of near real-time ECG data and self-reported symptom logs will allow health care practitioners to gain practical insights into their patients’ health. By allowing them to view a broader sample size of patient data, they will be able to provide their patients with timelier and more accurate care.
ECG screening made easy
Skiin makes daily ECG screening simple and straightforward. By wearing Skiin and logging symptoms in the Skiin Connected Life app, patients will be able to share valuable information about their cardiac health with their care circle. For patients who live in remote communities, with reduced mobility, or those with busy schedules, ECG readings with Skiin can be a vital tool in monitoring and maintaining their cardiac health.