Mayo Clinic taps AliveCor’s machine learning to broaden ECG analysis

In a collaboration with Mayo Clinic, AliveCor will apply its smartphone electrocardiogram device and machine learning algorithms to tease out new physiological indicators of heart health as well as general health.

AliveCor’s consumer-ready Kardia Mobile device attaches to the back of a tablet or smartphone and also comes as a wristband for the Apple Watch. To take an ECG, a patient opens the mobile app and places his or her fingers on the device’s electrodes. The patient may also verbally record any other symptoms. The app then analyzes the ECG, telling the patient whether it is normal or if the patient is experiencing atrial fibrillation. If the patient has previously opted in, the app will automatically send the data to his or her physician.

To date, AliveCor has collected about 10 million ECG recordings. The Mayo Clinic partnership will focus on applying its deep machine learning prowess to its bank of ECG recordings to “uncover hidden physiological signals to improve heart and overall human health,” according to a statement.

"Working with Mayo Clinic, we are hopeful that soon physicians will be turning to ECG data for the care of many types of patients, not just those with typical cardiovascular issues," said Dr. Dave Albert, AliveCor chief medical officer, in the statement.

While ECGs are typically used to measure heart rhythm, they hold a host of information about a person’s general health, according to the statement. For example, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that high blood potassium levels can cause identifiable changes in ECG readings, according to the statement. This insight can be used in the care of kidney failure patients, for whom changes in blood potassium levels can be dangerous.

"Mayo Clinic has pioneered new approaches that may uncover significant measures of physiology that have been hidden in individuals' ECGs," said AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra in the statement. "We are excited to collaborate with this team to deliver the technology behind the research that has the potential to impact the lives of millions. We look forward to transforming the way we address heart disease and bringing this technology to the market over the next year."