AF Association

From one extreme to another

Have a diagnosis of persistent AF, arrhythmia and mitral valve regurgitation. The hat trick of heart conditions :) I regularly check my heart rate via the Cardiio app which I have checked against three heart monitors including one in the cardio clinic. Today I have recorded a rate of 130 bpm and then ten mins later 22bpm and now back at normal 85!

Does anyone else go from one extreme to the other like this please?

Have EP appt this week so will take record with me but for interest just wanted to know if others experience similar please ?

6 Replies

Very few monitors can actually give a good result when one is in AF. None of mine could. If you were really donw to 22 I would have thought you would have fainted or at least felt very near to it.


Thanks Bob I surmised as much so didn't panic . Strangely enough when I was admitted to A n E last October it did a similar thing going from 220 to 30, when I did pass out and then back up to 220!


Yes the trouble with these electronic monitors is that they simply record what they see at a given moment when they take their reading. So if two consecutive heart beats are a second apart when it makes this 'observation' it will display a HR of 60 but if those beats are 2 seconds apart it will display 30. Consequently, these machines go haywire with those of us with the AF condition. A human being, taking a pulse reading, can mentally 'smooth' out those blips and come up with an average no matter how irregular the rhythm might be. Most of the gizmos we use for HR or BP recording are just not sophisticated enough to do that. I'm not saying electronic machines couldn't but not at a price most of us could afford.


I don't agree with you about electronic monitors and stating that manual is more accurate - manual measurements can be very inaccurate.

I bought my AliveCor from the AFA (it was £65 a couple of months back although I believe a new model is out). It is regarded by many medics as being very good and as my EP said it tells you that you are in AF and produces a good printout for under £100 and ECG machines costing tens of thousands of pounds tell you the same thing (although being 12 lead they produce more traces for different parts of the heart). As you are actually taking your readings the AliveCor displays the average over the recent period (not sure the duration - it could be 10 secs, maybe a bit more or a bit less - Dr Dave will know!!!).

Before I had my ablation when I was looking at the readings whilst I was sitting in my chair (and had been for 10 mins) and as I was holding the AliveCor the heartbeat could swing from say 70 to 120 over the polling time and then produced an average of say 90 over the two minutes for the readings.

If readings were taken MANUALLY over 15 secs (usual time) and then multiplied by four it could produce quite WIDELY DIFFERING results (eg could be 75 to 80 or 100 to 110). This was one of the reasons that I set the recording time on my AliveCor as 2 minutes rather than the default of 30 seconds (note this is twice as long as many medics use).

Also I bought a Microlife Watch BP Home for AFib (about £70 last year - VAT free from Web) and it is HB + BP. This is the only one recommended by NICE. Again see the AFA website. It automatically takes three readings with a 15 sec gap in-between each. The results correlate fairly well with the AliveCor except when my HB is fluctuating widely when the results can be quite different to those form the AliveCor (and the AliveCor is the accurate results). Sometimes the same within a couple of beats but at the extreme 32 beats out in 96!!! (I always take my readings first with the AliveCor and then the BP monitor and it records the HB and I include it on the list even though it is the AliveCor that I look at and the medics look at).


BTW - I meant to add that a well known make of wrist monitor for BP and HB consistently gave results that were usually significantly out (more than 70% high in one instance) and always on the high side (when I crossed checked it against AliveCor and Watch BP Home).


Excellent Peter, I'm glad you are happy with the results you are getting from your equipment. But most, perhaps not all, domestic type electronic readouts will be inaccurate for the reasons I have given. The most accurate way of taking a pulse reading is manually ie placing the index and middle fingers lightly on someone's wrist (or the carotid artery) for a full minute and count the number of beats. Normally of course one would do it for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. Of course, in the next period of time, there may well be some minor variation but how can anything else be more accurate? Unless you cross check against this manual method, you can never be really sure your gizmo is accurate.


You may also like...