Now, taking your ECG is as easy as taking a selfie

India is staring at a heart disease epidemic, and will soon have the highest number of cases of cardiovascular disease in the world. With heart attacks being a life threatening event, it is important to detect heart diseases and attacks at an early stage. Most people ignore a pain in the chest, as they feel it cumbersome to visit a hospital and take an ECG test, which can identify the real cause of the pain.

What if you could take the ECG test in your home without the help of anybody? A portable device called Sanket just does that. Sanket is a credit card sized ECG recorder which can connect to a smartphone wirelessly, and can display and record ECG readings on a smartphone. The device has been developed by cardiologist Dr Nishith Chandra, Director at Fortis Heart Institute and his partners Rahul Rastogi and Neha Rastogi.

Explaining the rationale for developing the device, Dr Nishith Chandra says,”This device was developed to bridge the gap between the symptom onset and seeking of medical help. Once the patient starts having chest pain or other symptoms, the first thing which is required to differentiate it between heart and other conditions, is doing an ECG. Conventionally, for that patient has to go to the nearest hospital with ECG facility, which is not always available. Thus, a great amount of time is lost. And in the matters of heart attack every second counts. Imagine the huge potential this device has, in reducing the time interval between symptoms and diagnosis, thus allowing rapid treatment and saving lives.”

This device would give the power of doing the ECG to the person from the comfort of his home, any time of the day or night, and then transmitting that ECG to the physician for instant diagnosis and advice, through email, SMS, WhatsApp etc.  The parents staying far away from their kids can share their ECG instantly with their kids to get medical opinion.

Dr Chandra says that the biggest advantage is the always available capability of doing an ECG. “Taking an ECG becomes as easy as a Selfie. Whatever be the time of day or night, the person can do the ECG in less than a minute. The initial cost of device has been kept at Rs 15,000, which is much less than the cost of expensive smartphones, and one such device in a household would suffice for every member of the family. With mass production in the future, I am sure, we can bring the cost down to less than Rs 10,000”.

This is the first version of this device, and in the future, the makers have plans to add many more sensors like sPO2, Temp, etc to make this device even more useful.

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