This Startup Can Detect a Dangerous Blood Condition Through Heart Signals

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AliveCor, a start-up medical device and artificial intelligence company that sells ECG hardware and software for consumer mobile devices, can now detect a dangerous blood condition.

The company does it by monitoring heart signals. Working with the Mayo Clinic, AliveCor has developed a new test that screens for elevated potassium levels without requiring any blood.

The company uses AI technology that looks for signals in electrocardiograms.

AliveCor has announced this week that it had received “breakthrough device” designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for developing this new way to detect high blood potassium levels.

“It was a pie-in-the-sky idea that we could use AI to see something like this in the ECG when no one else could,” said Vic Gundotra, CEO of AliveCor. He added, “It’s a big milestone for us.”

Gundotra had previously worked on AI-related technology as a senior vice president of engineering at Google.

AliveCor currently sells an attachment to a smartphone to measure the heart’s rhythm, as well as a band that fits on Apple Watch. Apple is expected to launch an ECG on its Apple Watch this week.

According to Gundotra, the product will take about a year to reach the market, as the company is still
required to submit results from a clinical trial. It’s his hope that AliveCor’s devices will be offered through the patient’s health insurance for those who can’t afford the price.