Review of KardiaMobile 6L by AliveCor

My review of the KarbiaMobile 6L by AliveCor. It is a pretty interesting device that can help detection if you are having some strange heart rhythm issues.

Summary

Earlier in the week I had some heart irregularities that scared me. Upon visiting my Primary Care he calmed my concerns but recommended a device I had actually already been looking into to help monitor at home.

The device was KardiaMobile by AliveCor. In doing my own research, I came across it but I wasn’t sure how accurate it was. Since my doctor recommended it and said he had one I was satisfied by the quality of the results.

Options

There are two main options. A Single lead which is their original product or the new Six Lead (6L). For me, for the extra quality of the EKG I opted for the 6L as it was only marginally more expensive and why not?

What Are Leads?

I won’t attempt to write in depth on this as I am just learning about it but do not confuse electrode for lead. Have a good read on this Wikipedia article – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrocardiography#Electrodes_and_leads

In short, more leads equate to a higher quality EKG with more data points although for most of us, the single lead will do just fine for home monitoring.

Here is a picture of the measurements of a 6 lead. A single lead is simply the first “I” listed below. Leads 4-6 (aVF, aVL and aVR) are calculated and not actual. Its fun how triangles work, isn’t it 🙂

By Npatchett – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39235282

Detection

The natural question is exactly what can this detect? It is FDA-Cleared to detect the following

  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia
  • Possible Atrial Fibrillation

The nice part about it is Kardia only uses the first lead to detect these so you do not always have to take the 6 lead test. It can sometimes be inconvenient if you are in a public place.

Unboxing

It arrived in a small box.

Kardia Outer Package
Kardia Outer Package

I opted to buy the carry pod as well since I plan on throwing this in my laptop bag and carrying around.

Kardia Inner Package

Recording

The initial setup and pairing was nice but unexpectedly I did have to disable NFC. I use this for mobile payments so it may be a pain to disable and re-enable constantly. Minor inconvenience but worth mentioning.

Kardia Record

Here you can select the Single Lead or 6-Lead. The Single lead requires pointer and middle finger to touch the metal contact from each hand. The 6-Lead requires thumbs and the bottom center metal contact to touch part of your left leg.

Reviewing Results and Sharing

Simply hold for 30 seconds and it will record. when it is done it will provide this report. It will save the results locally but you can use the “Email EKG” to share. This is not limited to email, you can share it with any app on your phone such as FaceBook but it does generate a PDF file so the app needs to be able to accommodate transferring a PDF instead of an image file.

Kardia Results

Here is an example of the output I took of my first 6 lead.

Kardia Sample EKG Results

Final Words

At a first glance, I am happy with the 6 lead. It may never end up to be more than a toy I tinker with on occasion as I likely do not have any underlying heart issues but it is very convenient to have this available.

Unless you are highly proficient in reading EKG results, the intent should be to capture an event you are unsure of so that you can share with your doctor, whether it be a primary care or cardiologist. Many times you can walk into the ER having an event or even be at the doctor’s office and they not catch it on an EKG. This device gives you a better chance of catching it.

Mobile Fuel Payment – Securing Your Credit Card

Summary

In order to help cut down on Credit Card fraud and increase convenience, gas stations have been implementing mobile fuel payment options. This allows you to pay at the pump without inserting a credit card.

Prior to this, Credit Card companies have been implementing EMV. This is the chip “dip” or NFC contactless payment that we all have seen recently. These are much more secure because they cannot easily be copied/duplicated. Credit Card fraud in Europe was terrible until they started implementing this. It was more terrible than in the United States which is why the United States later adopted it.

The Problem Mobile Fuel Payment Helps

Nearly all retailers are required to provide this option today in the United States. That is, except for Gas Stations. They received an extension. Perpetrators of fraud realize this and therefore it is not uncommon for Credit Card skimmers to be installed. Skimmers help people intending to commit fraud by capturing card information as it is inserted. It is usually combined with a camera to help capture pin entries or other values on the card.

How Does Mobile Fuel Payment actually help this?

I have yet to see a fuel pump that accepts a chip card so any card inserted with a chip has its magnetic strip read. This is susceptible to cloning. Mobile Fuel Payment saves you from having to actually insert a card.

Many of the major gas companies have their own app.

Near me, Chevron and Sunoco both accept this but many more also accept it. Since those are the two major chains near me, I will provide my thoughts on it.

Chevron’s Mobile Fuel Payment

Chevron’s app was easy to download and register. Payment methods are unfortunately scarce. It accepts only PayPal and their own branded Advantage Card or Gift cards. I had PayPal already, so I linked my account to the app. I then went to try to use it and the payment failed. In PayPal, my checking account was the only linked account. The Chevron app gave me no indication of this but PayPal did email me with a failure. The Chevron app also hung in this scenario and I had to “force stop” it to recover. I had to do some digging with PayPal and then it suggested I add my debit/credit card.

After the first experience, I decided to update my bank information and add a credit card. Unfortunately the second time resulted in the same issue. To be fair though, this decline was from PayPal, not Chevron. It seems like fuel charge issues are common though as they have an article for this – https://www.paypal.com/us/smarthelp/article/why-was-my-fuel-purchase-declined-troubleshooting-tips-faq4022

Roughly 30 minutes on hold with PayPal, I gave up. I did not want to waste any more of my Sunday. Maybe I will try again later when they’re better staffed or wait until the Chevron App supports Google Pay.

Chevron's Mobile Fuel Payment App Features and Options
Chevron’s Mobile Fuel Payment App Features and Options

Sunoco’s Mobile Fuel Payment

Sunoco’s app has been very intuitive and it accepts Google Pay, major credit cards and their own rewards and gift cards. The process was very straight forward. It provided estimates on time to start as well as a timer that I had to complete the start fueling. The Google Pay method worked flawlessly.

Sunoco's Mobile Fuel Payment App Features and Options
Sunoco’s Mobile Fuel Payment App Features and Options

Common Features

Some of the common features between these apps are the ability to review receipts and find locations that support Mobile Fuel Payment. I like to keep a copy of my receipts, at least for a few days. In the event that I get a fill of bad gas, I want proof I went to the station. It has never happened but there will be that day.

One thing to note is just because Chevron supports Mobile Fuel Payment does not mean every station does. The stations are almost always a franchise with owners deciding when to perform upgrades. Even if they were not, it still takes time to upgrade all of the stations to support this.

Other Stations and Options

Many other gas stations offer this. I will not dive into the research for that. My hope is just to open you to the idea that your chain likely has this implemented. Feel free to test yours out and comment back with your experience.

Final Words

If you have not looked into using mobile fuel payment options and you keep getting your credit card compromised, give it a try. It is very likely to help with this situation.