ECG monitoring is performed by placing electrodes on the patients chest that can detect electrical activity associated with heartbeats. Usually, that’s done for a short period of time in a cardiologist’s office, but there are also portable devices that can be worn for a day or two in order to get a more comprehensive picture. I have had both kinds of tests done, and the portable device is both uncomfortable and unwieldy. You’re left with wires running across your torso, and have to wear a bulky unit on your belt the entire time. This new “e-tattoo” monitor is far more comfortable and also produces more accurate results.
This “e-tattoo” is a flexible, wearable patch embedded with electronic sensors for heart monitoring. It takes ECG readings along with seismocardiography (SCG) readings that measure chest vibrations. The SCG readings are used to verify and improve the accuracy of the ECG readings. The patch can be worn comfortably for several days, and receives its power from a smartphone — though it’s not exactly clear how it does. The same smartphone is used to collect data from the patch, which allows doctors to see trends over the course of days and also spot temporary episodes that may not occur during short tests.