I take my heart health quite seriously after spending so many years fat and stressed. PR companies appear to have noticed this and I have recently covered 2 blood pressure monitors and also have another to review.
In the past, I covered the Azoi Kito+ ECG which sold for £99 but they appear to have closed down. Recently Wiwe got in touch asking if I would like to review their portable ECG machine.
An ECG machine, or electrocardiograph, is used to record the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle’s electrophysiologic (the electricity it produces) pattern during each heartbeat. They are an essential tool in identifying cardiac problems such as atrial fibrillation or various heart block problems.
Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atria. Often it starts as brief periods of abnormal beating which become longer and possibly constant over time.
Back when I was fat and unhealthy I used to regularly suffer from palpitations, especially when trying to sleep. I suspect this was largely stress related and then you end up in a vicious circle of sleep anxiety making the palpitations worse.
Atrial fibrillation is often none symptomatic and by itself doesn’t cause major issues. However, similar to high blood pressure, it is associated with many serious conditions including heart failure, dementia, and stroke.
People with Atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of heart failure by 11 per 1000, kidney problems by 6 per 1000, death by 4 per 1000, stroke by 3 per 1000, and coronary heart disease by 1 per 1000.
Again, similar to blood pressure, the cause of it can be genetic, but excessive alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking all increase the risk.
Long-term endurance exercise (e.g., long-distance bicycling or marathon running) appears to be associated with a modest increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation in middle-aged and elderly people. As I do quite a lot of endurance stuff this is something that could affect me.
As far as I can tell the Wiwe doesn’t have any official government backing such as the MHRA or FDA approval but they claim that the device provides clinical-grade ECG and is recommended by various cardiologists.
The Wiwe has been tested against 10000 clinical samples and it achieved a 98.7% accuracy, they also have a Class 2a CE marking which means it conforms with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for a medical device so you can have a large degree of confidence in its accuracy and that it is safe to use. Wiwe will even provide the certificate confirming the 98.7% accuracy upon request, they sent it to me, but it is a large volume of text so I won’t upload it to this post.
The ECG function doesn’t just check for atrial fibrillation but also covers stroke and sudden cardiac arrest risks, and stroke risks. It will also check your blood oxygen levels and monitor your pulse.
The Wiwe is a convenient credit card size, though I would guess about 6 times thicker so you can comfortably fit this in a thick wallet or carry it around in a pocket without being weighed down.
It works by itself and is charged via microUSB with a power button on the top. If you choose to use it independently the device has LEDs to indicate where it is with the test. This makes it much more convenient to use than the previous device I reviewed.
There are not really any consumer orientated ECG devices on the market, most of them look like they belong in a hospital and many of the devices available just providing the ECG graph results without any interpretation. The Wiwe, on the other hand, gives you a user-friendly colour coded results, with the option to view the graph along with specifics about each interval and where you sit on the standard deviation.
This is quite important because unless you are qualified to read these things the graph isn’t much use. When I reviewed the Azio I assumed my heart was OK because the graph was roughly the normal shape, but with this, I have learned it isn’t just about the shape but the specific timings between each part of the wave that is important.
Setting up the device is straightforward, and it established the connection quickly with no issues. The app is basic looking but functional and taking the readings is mostly a simple process.
I say mostly because while the process of doing the reading is easy, quite a large number of readings failed to sync or came back with a reading error. When it failed to sync it would just hang and do nothing like it was waiting for the data to transfer. I would say these issues occurred about 20% of the time, which was enough for it to be mildly annoying.
My results have fuelled my heart health paranoia slightly as about 50% of the time the final result showed a small deviation from normal with the ECG. The 2 issues appeared to be a slightly long PQ interval or a short QTc interval. These were often only just 1 or 2ms out of range which is small enough that I probably don’t need to panic. I also had multiple results well within the normal range, which is a relief to know. I am not going to run off to my GP immediately with this but I will raise it next time I go.
I have quite a low resting heart rate of about 45bpm normally, and in the morning when I took all my readings I had consumed quite a lot of caffeine so it is possible these are affecting my results negatively.
If I was unfortunate enough to get some red warnings it is possible to then share the results via email. Or if you click on the detailed results you will see the specific results that fall out of the normal range which you can then show your Doctor.
Overall this is an interesting device, I don’t have a great deal to compare it to, in fact, I think it is the only ECG in this form factor on the market currently.
I did have some issues during use, and they were annoying but they were only minor and just meant that I had to redo the test.
I like the fact that you get some form of diagnosis and the level of severity it allows you to make an informed judgement before you rush off to you GP panicking about something. Though If you do get a bad result I would recommend taking multiple readings just to make sure it wasn’t erroneous.
Priced at 289-Euros / £259 it is not something I would recommend everyone buy, though if you are rich go for it. If you have had any heart-related scare of any form I would suggest £259 is not that expensive if it allows you to monitor your heart health on a regular basis.
Wiwe handheld smartphone ECG
Product Name: Wiwe handheld smartphone ECG