MIAMI – Cardiologists are using an iPhone application to monitor patients with a type of abnormal heart rhythm when they're at home.
Five years ago, Shalom Offir was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm and a leading cause of stroke.
The smartphone application AliveECG allows Offir to measure his heart rate and send the information to his doctor.
"That's something revolutionary," he said. "I have an iPhone 5 and you put your two fingers and you see your EKG in front of your eyes in one second."
Dr. David Albert, the chief medical officer and founder of AliveCor, developed AliveECG.
"I envisioned this as a way for people around the world with atrial fibrillation to assess their condition and transmit that information to their physician," he said.
Albert said a cardiologist used the app when a passenger on a fight started having chest pains.
"And he took out our device, applied it to the guy's chest, and told the captain, 'You need to land the plane now,'" he added.
The application works through two electrodes placed on the back of the phone.
"I put my fingers on them, turn it around, and there's my electrocardiogram," said Albert.
The information is then immediately sent to the doctor's office.
"I'll tell you one of the common things I say, it's being a doctor is like being a mechanic," said Albert. "You want the car to be making the sound when you go to fix it. In this case, the doctor, the cardiologist, can always be with you.
"I feel wonderful. I feel safe," added Offir.
The heart monitor attachment for the application is available by prescription for $199.