Qardio: the future of heart health monitoring
January 7, 2014 | By: High50

A health-checking device launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas could revolutionise cardiovascular monitoring. We got a preview

Heart health monitoring_Quardio

Qardio’s new heart moitoring device: an app a day keeps the doctor away

Do you remember your first Walkman? The clunky tape-playing box that clipped to your belt once seemed like the future; a “hi-fi on the go”.

That evolved into the portable CD and MiniDisc player, and then, in 2001, Apple’s game-changing, Jony Ive-designed iPod arrived. Almost overnight, the Walkman and all its updates seemed laughably obsolete.

The Appleication of design has since trickled through all sorts of products, from tablets to timepieces. And this week, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (think Glastonbury for gadgets), the easy-to-use and nice-to-look-at approach has scored another triumph, with the debut of a product that could revolutionise the health market.

With its QardioArm device, Qardio has dragged the blood pressure and heart rate monitor from cold, grey and clinical into the smartphone era. No lumbering kits requiring assembly, no dangly rubber tubes; just a sleek white box attached to an armband with a corresponding app to control it.

The QardioArm can even play you a soothing slideshow of your photos to relax you during the boring arm-squeezing bit.

Cardiovascular disease: a life every seven minutes

QardioArm on iPhone_heart monitoring device

QardioArm on iPhone

The terrifying statistics around cardiovascular disease (all conditions associated with the heart and circulation) should be enough to shock us all into living like Olympians:

Heart disease accounts for a quarter of all deaths in the UK each year.

Heart attacks claim a life every seven minutes.

Nearly three-quarters of a million people under the age of 75 have had a stroke.

But the fact is, one’s late forties and early fifties are often the time that we take stock, examine our creaks and vow to do something about them. Cardiovascular conditions are manageable if caught early.

If it’s a heart-related condition that arises, or the risk of one is detected, the QardioArm provides supervision on tap.

“Instead of having to adapt your life to sensors, medical devices and inconvenient check-ups, you now have a medical tracking system that fits effortlessly into your life,” says Qardio CEO Marco Peluso.

Self-monitoring tools

It’s the latest addition to the growing market of self-monitoring tools. Trainer-attached pedometers, bike-based social networks, apps that track your mood: personal health has had a gadgety injection.

Indeed, go for a run this week, and see how many January joggers you can spot sporting a Nike+ Fuel Band, this Christmas’ favourite sporting accessory.

These technological terriers nag you, set you goals, celebrate your achievements and can be valuable tools when you’re looking to reboot your fitness. 

“With a clearer understanding of how our bodies work on a daily basis, we empower ourselves to live smarter,” says Qardio co-founder Rosario Iannella.

The Qardio app that powers the phone-size device enables you to set regular reminders (of your own, or of medical instruction), and plots useful charts.

Most helpfully, it provides medical-grade data that you can share with your doctor, or other family members, without lifting much more than a finger.

“With extended monitoring, doctors can leverage richer data to potentially make better and earlier assessments,” says Iannella.

It also means you can save time, and expense, on routine check-ups. There’s no need to book an appointment if your doctor can see your numbers are fine.

Those who are on medication for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, for instance, often wait months between beginning a course and having a check-up to see if it’s working. Qardio’s heart health tracking can let both you and your doctor know that everything is as it should be or allow a quick tweak if needed.

“It’s a better way to live your life,” says Peluso, not to mention the benefit to an NHS that is keen to free up GPs’ time.

Following the QardioArm’s introduction at CES this week, the company will be following it up with the QardioCore, an equally elegant electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that attaches round your chest to measure the electrical activity of your heart.

“We have created technologies and solutions that make healthcare personal, the way it should be. We are very excited by the impact that this can have on the lives of many people,” says Peluso.

From stressed execs to resurgent runners, monitoring our health in a lifestyle-friendly way is something that our hearts will thank us for.