Brief question this time: Does a Kardia show a clear difference between ectopics and paroxysmal afib episodes? Because of side effects I'm trying to reduce my Flecainide to use as a pill-in-the-pocket , but often am not certain if what I'm experiencing is a paroxysmal afib episode or "harmless" (but unpleasant) ectopics. There seems to be the typical skipped beats of ectopics (which I've had on and off for years but have become almost constant), but at the same time there seems to be a fluttering sensation in the chest which is not felt in the pulse. When this happens, I don't want to be in a hurry to pop a pill just for "harmless" ectopics, if what is going on is not afib. Which brings me to the question: would using a Kardia as needed show me the difference and help me know whether or not to reach for the Flecainide? Looking forward to hearing from some Kardia users. Many thanks!

28 Replies

  • Kardia uses a special algorithm to detect AF, it's not perfect, but in my case has always confirmed my assumption of AF when I have episodes. It records a single electrode style trace ECG which, even when AF is not detected, may say undetermined. I don't think Kardia has other algorithms to determine other arrhythmia. The trace however could be analysed by someone qualified to interpret it. Kardia themselves offer such a service for a small fee (from outside the UK I think), although I've never used it.

  • Thanks, Drounding, for such a speedy response! Invaluable information, which I sincerely appreciate.


  • I've used the kardia service in the UK. It's quick and very good.

  • In my experience - Sometimes if I have regular PVCs (premature ventricular contractions which are a type of ectopic) the ones that give you the thud thud feeling it suggests I might be in AF and I'm not also when I was in a flutter with variable conduction it could read as AF at times.

    I can feel my AF differently and it does provide that confirmation when I'm in AF.

  • Happpyjo -- thank you so much for telling your experience with Kardia. So the Kardia doesn't necessarily tell a person whether AF is involved at that moment or PVCs? But at least it provides confirmation of AF? Many thanks for your input!


  • What I mean is sometimes it says possible AF when it's not but think it says possible AF every time I'm in AF

  • if it's definitely AF it says so- but you would soon learn how to see it the P wave is missing- this shows the atria activity and is helpful in diagnosing AF

  • Oh wow -- another useful insight from someone who knows. Thanks very much, rosyG!


  • there are other causes of missing p waves but as you know you get AF it would tell you definitely

  • Kardia will detect and report AF and it will show ectopics, both PVC's and PAC's - sometimes reporting as normal and, if there are numerous ectopics, as unclassified. At the beginning, I printed out my traces for my cardiologist and gradually learned to recognise the straightforward stuff.

    It would be useful to be able to avoid a pill in the pocket if it is 'only' ectopics, I agree.

    PS forgot to say that I have used Kardia's analysis costing £5 and found it useful.

  • Thank you so much for this, Finvola. You mention printing out results to show your doctor, and that has answered another question for me. I sure appreciate your taking the time to reply!


  • Forgot to say, Frances that the Kardia has an education section with examples of various arrhythmias - it can be useful in the learning process.

  • Perfect! I needed to hear that! It's obvious that I do need this helpful gadget, so am going to order a Kardia from Amazon within the next few minutes.

  • AF is always irregular. Ectopic will arrive in amongst regular beats. Although sometimes ectopic arrive in a regular pattern, every two or three beats perhaps, but the beats in between will be nsr.

    If you print some of your recordings off, you will be able to see your ecg on a grid which will help you see whether the beats are regular or irregular.


  • Thank you for your comment and helpful advice, Pat! I'm about to hit Amazon and order my Kardia!


  • You will soon become an expert at distinguishing between ectopics and AF on the Kardia. As has been said af is irregulalry irregular, no p waves but all qrs complexes looking similar.

    Using a separate piece of paper to mark off each qrs complex and then shifting the paper along a beat or two will show if the pattern is repeated regularly or not.

  • Thanks for that assurance and the suggestion, Goldie11! What a great group of people we have on this site. Ready at a moment's notice to share help to others. !

  • Does Kardia show up ventricular tachycardia? Is this classed as AF? We're new to these terms.


  • VT is totally different, but would be apparrant on Kardia

  • Related but not quite on topic.

    I found when stepping down Flecanide after my ablation I would get a run of ectopics for a day or so after each step. If they were particularly troublesome I would up the dose again, wait a bit then try again. I was stepping down very gradually too, -25mg each time. Strangely enough I found going from 25mg/day to 0 the most troublesome reduction. I was not expecting that as I really thought by the time I was just on 25mg/day that was effectively nothing.

    Anyway just to say what you are experiencing sounds very similar to my experience and always after a few days things settled down. So, providing you're sure they are ectopics I would say wait it out and hope they settle.

  • Steve, thank you for adding your experience! Very helpful indeed to know what someone else has experienced, and to see similarities. I appreciate it all!


  • Just a further wrinkle about the Kardia. For the first month after purchase, you get free access and use of their own record system, basically cloud storage of the recordings you have made with free access to them. To maintain that account after the free period there is a monthly charge. I didn't bother. I have free cloud storage with Dropbox, Box, Google etc. and didn't see the point of paying for another one.

    When I've made a recording that is of any interest, I email it to myself and store it in the cloud so that I can access it at any time on phone or tablet or PC whenever. The email facility from within the Kardia app is perhaps intended to send it to your EP or other medical advisor, but you can do that yourself from your own records afterwards.


  • My kardia connects to Google fit to store the information

  • Very helpful info, Momist! Thanks very much!


  • Kardia says my etopics are normal. Tachycardia is unclassified. Atrial fibrillation is afib. There is a very good library in the kardia app that shows you what each heart wave is. It's given me peace. I can relax.

  • Thank you for this, Meeko! It's encouraging! I ordered a Kardia yesterday, from Amazon, and should receive it tomorrow. Hoping it will shed some light on what's happening in this chest of mine.


  • I have sent my Kardia report to be analysed seven times at a charge of £5 each time and have always been told to seek further advice with no explanation whatsoever.

    Since I have no idea how to read the graph, the Kardia is of very little use to me since the three responses that I have had from it in the past year have been Possible AF, unreadable and Unclassified. Not a lot of help to me!

  • Nanfranz again, two months after my first Kardia post, and one month after receiving the Kardia I ordered. I have paroxysmal afib, and now almost-constant ectopics. Still wishing that the Kardia would indicate the difference between ectopics and afib. Even when ectopics are occurring every third beat, along with a nasty fluttering sensation which causes short-of-breath lightheadedness, Kardia reports that there are no abnormalities. At these times I have to wonder if the Kardia is malfunctioning. The ECG shows dramatic spikes and dips and wiggles all over the place , which is no surprise to me considering what's going on my chest, but still I'm told that all is "normal". Twice I've had a "possible atrial fibrillation" result, and while I admit I can tell the difference in the appearance readout, I still don't understand how the ectopics, wild as they are, can be shrugged off as "normal."

    I've been on 50mg Flecainide twice a day, which has controlled the ectopics quite well until now, when after two or three hours they start up again. Knowing from experience the side effects of the Flecainide I hate to increase the dosage (as suggested by cardiologist).

    Any thoughts from you helpful people will be appreciated! Thanks!

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