According to a story from engadget.com, the tech company AliveCor, known for its KardiaBand device for Apple Watch, is currently developing new capabilities for its innovative watch strap. Currently, the KardiaBand watch strap can monitor the rhythm of a wearer’s heartbeat and detect any abnormalities that could be connected to potential health problems. The KardiaBand is already considered and approved medical device by the FDA, but AliveCor is working on a new feature that will allow the device to detect unusually high potassium levels in the blood.
High blood potassium, known as hyperkalemia, is relatively rare, but can be a side effect of other medical problems. Hyperkalemia is often caused by kidney failure, rhabdomylosis, and hypoaldosteronism. There are also some medications that can cause potassium levels to rise, such as NSAIDs and spironolactone. Hyperkalemia often does not cause any symptoms unless the change is severe. Some symptoms include muscle pain, muscle weakness, and numbness. To learn more about hyperkalemia, click here.
The KardiaBand is well suited to detecting high potassium levels because hyperkalemia can cause heart palpitations and an abnormal heart rate, which can lead to cardiac arrest and death. Data collected with the Mayo Clinic proved that AliveCor’s technology is able to detect high potassium levels. Using EKG readings, the neural network was capable of detecting hyperkalemia in 85 percent of cases and it could also identify readouts that were not hyperkalmic with 72 percent accuracy.