AF Association
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Alivecor Feedback please!

Does anyone find their readings very limited and hard to read the wonky Ecgs?

I place my hands on the table to limit mvmt and feel I succeed but the ECGs are quite wonky. When I get PACs SVTs PVCs and once an IVCD I understand the wobbles but often I am in NSR with very strange readings! So far always in NSR with or without the other indications. I am quite perplexed by the readouts. I can see when I have moved too much very clearly, but the difference between the pretty picture they show and what I get.... VERY different. Any thoughts? anyone get any false positives? eg. IVCD? Thanks in advance

17 Replies

yes I have noticed this- cardiologist call it artefacts when I showed him. However it is useful to see P wave as know in NSR


I have great difficulty in getting mine to do much other than look like a magnitude ten earthquake. When I do get a reading it often takes half the run before it settles down. I wonder if my fingers are too dry (from chemical cleaners I use) as I often find my I phone doesn't respond the first time I prod it. Incidentally it doesn't show a p wave at all for anybody and there was some traffic here about that a while back. Apparently to see one you need to place the thing on your right hand and left knee. I'm in NSR 99.9% of the time and still no p wave. I rate it as a useful toy only but I have heard some good reports from others so maybe mine is not a good one.



Bob have mentioned this to T will email what she said


Hi iris1205,

I find I can't use mine on my hands since they are too dry giving a fairly high skin resistance. (probably why I could work on live electrical equipment without getting a shock.)

I've always to use it on my chest and it then gives very good results. I'm in permanent AF and it shows that up very well, like lots of little P waves between the QRS complexes. Also shows the ST depression due to my heart block. I get inverted QRS waves sometimes that feel like a missed beat and then a "thump" in my chest. I've had friends trying it and seems to work OK on their hands.

Hope that helps.



Many thanks RosyG, BobD, Farmerwalt and Mumsknowbest!

If I do handheld I do get P waves, on the chest much clearer image but no Ps as you've said. What is so odd is the difference in the handheld moments. Same hold, same stabilisation on the desk, but the ECG lines are very wobbly - though not always. I'd love it if they would put up a few images on Alivecor giving more information. It did catch the PACs PVCs SVTs as I'd said and one I'd never seen before - IVCD. Very curious. Anyway thanks for the information.


My AliveCor readings are great, never had a bad one, even when I have moved slightly. All the medics I have shown mine to agree that it is revolutionary, that is 2GPs, 5 cardiologists and my EP. I believe the secret is to stay absolutely still, rest the electrodes on your fingers and ensure you have used the gel to lubricate them, just as the instructions say.


Thanks CDreamer, I hadn't used the gel, so I did try it--- one that is made for conductivity for TENS machines. Still the same wonky results. I rest my hands and elbows on the table... zero movement. Some have spikes, some none at all.... another curious feature: If I watch the heart rhythm via the heart beating, it is irregular (as I feel such) and yet the readings say sinus rhythm.... very curious. Thank you for your input!


Since that post I have studied the results and can see that our reads are as different as our AF situations. Handheld often doesn't work for me as it doesn't pick up the QRS properly as I have what is called a vertical QRS axis. Rather than trying to figure all that out, just find one of the three variations that picks up a proper read and go with it!


The monitor is also sensitive to "noise". Don't use it with a charger plugged in to the phone or near other electrical equipment, PCs, TV's etc. I have found there are some rooms/buildings that it just doesn't work in.


good catch... -alivecor even said turn on airplane mode if there is too much interference. When I am truly in Afib or even solid PACs/PVCs etc, I don't have to do anything but plug myself into any Lead and it picks it all up! Again, we are all different. When I was going towards syncope I would lean over to brace myself on the table and the voltage (peaks) would reduce greatly so body position plays a role as well!


I notice BPM goes "---" when BPM is fluctuating as mine does.

I'm guilty of using it with my dry hands.. :-( I did try some hand sanitizer but it tends to dry quickly. Wonder if oil would be better? I ordered something else to see if that would be any better.


me too ---- it will find a bpm eventually and then it generally averages it. There is something very helpful on the printout.

The one you would receive if you send it to yourself as a PDF. There are very small markers on the bottom of the graph that measure the R to R intervals. You can measure them and calculate what your bpm was at different points in time. Now, I did once get the calculation down, but of course have since forgotten. The calculation also depends if you are using the standard 25mm graph or 50mm. I truly am not very advanced with this data, just very curious. You can see those markers as the bottom of the graph as the ECG is being read at the moment. If you send it in for analysis unfortunately they remove the markers. I'll ask why!


no oil! even water works!


Dear iris1205

Yes. I tried water once. I'm definitely ordering an alternative "gel" today. :-

Another very helpful insight. Thank you so much. I was wondering if anyone's or your bpm fluctuates quite a bit if you don't mind asking this? A & E doctor mentioned AF when she saw my ECG. My bpm does fluctuate wildly hence bpm reading goes "----" frequently (at times, this could last for a while).

"Thanks CDreamer, I hadn't used the gel, so I did try it--- one that is made for conductivity for TENS machines. Still the same wonky results. I rest my hands and elbows on the table... zero movement. Some have spikes, some none at all.... another curious feature: If I watch the heart rhythm via the heart beating, it is irregular (as I feel such) and yet the readings say sinus rhythm.... very curious. Thank you for your input!"

I often wondered if some of us who may have a peripheral vessel disease/poor circulation may be likely to get results of "poor reading" which I seem to be prone to. I did notice yesterday that when I placed alivecor over my chest, my reading looked completely different from the ones I get from holding alivecor in my hands. Does this happen to any one of you at all?

You do raise quite a few valid points which made me think. Thank you! Take care.


How are you doing Omega?

This site could be helpful for learning about ECGs.

People take years to read ECGs well, so it is just an over view! Important to know your baseline though so you can compare it to yourself. I always ask for copies of my -ecgs!


Hi Omega,

Ask away, that is what this forum is for! You'll notice my first posts on theses issues were when I'd just received the device and knew nothing. I only know more now due to experience AND the findings are still only relative to my situation. Please let me preface, everything I've written below is unverified- my research only!

Your reads look different as they should due to the placement of your device. They are cross-secting your heart to read different areas.

Pull up an image of a 12 lead ECG reading. for example

You will see how all the different positions produce different results.

As for the chest read, that is called an Anterior Precordial Lead (anterior wall). That is the close to equivalent to a V3 or V4 read. Lead I is high lateral wall, Lead II is the inferior wall. I say close, as we must remember this is 150£ (approx) device with two electrodes producing a single lead effect. You can't compare it to a 12 lead device... nor the price! Then you add in our individual factors, types of arrythmias we have, placement, conductivity... and if I am lying down I produce a fairly low voltage image so the spikes are smaller. Get used to reading your own and send an occasional one that you feel is truly off. Mind you my simple palpitations have become so persistant that I feel I must be in pre-afib almost 24/hrs per day. Though as I've said in the past, as much as they are nearly as miserable as Afib, they are not. If I have a doubt, I am not in Afib. My type roars and has a rapid ventricular response - Afib RVR.

I hesitate to use word gadget as it has provided me with so much invaluable information and I think such underestimates it's value. Quite frankly I am amazed at what it does... and no it isn't always perfect, but my for the price and what it does produce - it has been invaluable to me!

Hope this helps! Keep asking any and all until you get the answers you need - your heart will thank you for the information!


Dear iris1205

You make valid points and I appreciated your style and approach very much.

Yes, it's about time I educated myself a little more about ECGs and learn a little more as to how to interpret them / what's "normal" /what isn't etc. Thank you for your introductory guidance and support to someone "newbie" like myself.

Hope you had a nice weekend and your week started smoothly.

Best Wishes,


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