AliveCor spikey tracings

Hello, everyone. I am relatively new here and wondering whether there is a site where I can see other peoples' AliveCor tracings? If so, could you direct me please? I had an episode this morning where the readings were completely wild, spiky and irregular, so I need to find out whether this was my heart or a quirk in the device. It lasted for over 8 minutes and told me that there was electrical interference. But even when I changed locations, the erratic tracings continued. I decided to get ready to go to a nearby clinic and ask them, but when I tested it again before leaving the house (15 minutes later) it returned to normal. So now I don't know what caused this. I got an alert saying that there was "electrical interference", but I was in the same spot in the house where I always test it, and when I moved to a different room, the erratic tracings continued. I tested in the same spot 15 minutes later, and it was back to normal. I am concerned because I have episodes of bigeminy and couplets where the PVCs occur over 20 times per minute and read that this can sometimes lead to ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation, so I am wondering whether this is what was recorded on the AliveCor tracing, or whether there really was some kind of outside interference. This same thing happened several months ago and the doctor said it was artifact from movement... but I am absolutely certain that on both occasions I was completely still and steady. In fact, I purposely took a reading where I moved my hands a lot to try to reproduce the same kind of spikes, and could not even do it on purpose. When the episodes occurred today, I took 6 readings and it showed heart rates of around 150 to 181 beats per minute. Has this ever happened to anyone else? If so, what could have caused this? I know that if I send it away to be read that they will say electrical interference, because the device is set up to automatically say these things. Whenever I am having an episode of very frequent PVCs, the device detects that as movement when it is trying to initialize and tells me to hold still. So I have to keep trying and wait for the PVCs to slow down some before the device will begin recording. I have learned that it has limitations, but I still love it what it does do. But this spiky rhythm has me concerned. The cardiologist does not like this device. She had me an event monitor for a month, but nothing like this happened during that time so I don't think she is too concerned. But now that it has happened again, I don't know whether I should call her back, find another cardiologist, or just accept that the device is detecting outside interference from something. Has anyone else had this happen and know what could have caused it to stop on its own and return to normal rhythm? Sorry this is so long. Thanks in advance to anyone who read all the way through.

Last edited by

8 Replies

  • Hi. I don't personally think you'll be able to, or should, diagnose yourself by looking at others Alivecor readings. If you have a problem, see the doctor. If you're very worried go to the a& e. Unfortunately that's what we have to do.

    Sorry if this sounds negative

    Having said that, glad you've joined the forum.


  • Thanks for reading and responding Phil. Your advice is not negative at all, and exactly what I did the last time this happened. But unfortunately my cardiologist and none of the doctors in the emergency room were familiar with the AliveCor device, and since my heart rhythm was normal at the time, they blew it off. So I am certain that if I were to go back again with the same concern, the result would be the same. Also, since this happens so infrequently (only twice in over 6 months) it is not likely to be picked up on a Holter monitor. So I was hoping to talk to others that ARE familiar with this device to find out whether this is a known problem or whether I need to find a new cardiologist who IS familiar with this device. Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond!


  • Hi Pat...

    I too have an AliveCor device on my phone but have not experienced the 'electrical interference' warning message yet! I have had a 'cannot be determined' message, a 'nothing abnormal detected' and a 'AF detected' message. I have not had a diagnosis of AF but was diagnosed with Ventricular Tachycardia 5 years ago - I am still symptomatic even on heart meds. I do know that you are not supposed to use these devices near Microwave Ovens but apart from that... ?

    I received my device as part of a 'trial' before the devices were offered to Hospitals/patients. I don't know if they have rolled them out now but my point being, I suppose they can 'blip' but as a heart patient myself, I would not risk it being a 'device failure' & get it checked out. I would either contact AliveCor for their advice regarding this problem OR use their 'Clinical Analysis & Report by UK based Cardiac Physiologist'. This option appears when you select the specific ECG reading on your phone, at the bottom of your screen it says 'ANALYSIS', click on that & there you will see the option - It costs £5 for analysis & Report.

    Neither my GP or Cardiologist have ever heard of/seen a device like mine. They too do not seem interested. They'd better get used to it because this type of monitoring is the future & should now be used for every heart patient.. even just for peace of mind for the patient. I have found a terrible lack of support where the fear of suffering a SCA is prevalent in a heart patient's mind.

    Let me know how you get on - I'd be interested to see, given that I have this device too.

    Best wishes to you Pat...

    Debs <3

  • Thank you so much for responding Deb! I will send it in for analysis and see what they say and post back here. I am very much hoping that it is a known problem with the device. I suspect that it is because all the while that it was happening, I did not experience ANY symptoms. I only did the the scan because I experienced bigeminy PVCs the night before, and wanted to make sure everything looked normal. I was surprised to see the spikes, so I even took my pulse between readings and could feel a normal pulse. I would have thought that a person experiencing Ventricular Tachacardia would at least feel faint or something. Do you feel anything when you experience VT?

    Thanks again for responding!


  • Hi again Pat... Any news as yet? I didn't get a notification when you'd replied, so sorry for the late response! I have had the 'electrical interference message' since writing my first reply. It happens when I am charging my iphone via the laptop! If I try to record while my phone is charging, I get that message. Not that that helps you but it's something to remember. I really do think the devices are sensitive & I suppose they have to be to pick up accurate readings. I know that inside or outside the home we'd be amazed at just how much 'electrical interference' there is - we can't see it so don't worry about it!

    I'm like you though... even if I do a reading, I ALWAYS check my pulse too. I think if I got a really bad reading, I would ring an ambulance because this is the advice my Cardiologist has given. I would never go to the hospital myself because I did that once before & wasn't put on an ECG machine until an hour AFTER my episode (or 'funny do', as I prefer to call it!). I ended up in the Coronary Care Unit! I think calling an ambulance gets you monitored quicker, so they can see immediately what is going on!

    It's a weird one with VT because you can have serious symptoms without knowing - if that makes sense?! When I have a serious 'funny do' it's horrific! Very scary... My heart feels like it's rolling over inside my body, I cannot breathe (feels like you're winded), you go dizzy, disorientated & then comes the sudden legs collapsing & then a rush of blood that you can feel all over your body... Thinking about it makes me feel ill actually!! Then the blood pressure drops to like levels where you should actually be dead - sounds dramatic but it is! I get other symptoms too that I would never have imagined were linked, like feeling 'spaced out', teeth tingling, blurred vision, exhaustion, palpitations, heartbeat in ears... lots! I have VT in my sleep too. Fortunately my meds have helped with the major episodes but I'm still symptomatic. I am going to see the Cardiac Ablation man in September but not sure I want the treatment! It's a complete nightmare & I am still suffering mentally after being diagnosed with this... It was such a shock.

    I got a reading on my AliveCor that claimed it had detected AF. I haven't done anything about that yet! I think I may send it off for Analysis, as AF has never been mentioned by my Cardiologist - it came on while I was steam mopping the kitchen floor! My OH only bought me one of those because it was less exertive!!

    I have no idea what your condition is... what are your symptoms?

    Hope you are keeping well...

    Debs <3

  • Pat

    I am describing my experience of trying to understand this and have no medical training; it's basically a list of ideas I've had. You should always refer to your medical team to seek explanations. Although it is difficult to persist when your concerns are being dismissed I believe that you are entitled to a reasonable explanation.

    I have had exactly what you describe and have been struggling to accept the 'electrical interference' explanation as mine has occurred when I do have symptoms; quite breathless (I take the ECG on the Alivecor because I have symptoms) and usually after exertion (only mild I only get to walk nowadays). THE ECG is always taken sat absolutely still.

    The Alivecor analysis; my cardiologist and my EP all independently have said it is electrical interference. Mine is often outdoors always when sat completely still; short lasting only up to 10 minutes and resolves spontaneously. My EP tried to describe it as my junctional rhythm (my sinus node is not good not just AF) and when the other heart cells take over the pacing my sinus node should be undertaking. This is probably a very bad explanation by me!

    The cardiologist suggested that although I am sat still it could be involuntary possibly internal 'shivering' I am unaware of. It is pronounced when I have been out in cold fresh or windy air (although can happen in a warm house or car). It has definitely decreased in incidence since the winter months. I have also had it after a large meal in the evening and thought it could be a vagally stimulated response (which is electrical in nature). Almost without fail every evening this winter after a meal and heading out into the cold night air back to the car I would get very breathless and see this pattern when I took a reading when I got back to the car and sat down.

    I personally feel that there is a link with weather fronts and have read articles that link the two; although am at a loss today to find the link to post. Some people on this site have described suffering from electrical sensitivity; so there might be a personal internal cause that is intermittent (and links to my meals/vagal nerve ideas).

    I also have quite an issue with bigamy and ventricular ectopics; I have been told my Bradycardia allows these in. I share your concerns about VT which can lead VF; and continue to try to work closely with my team so that they understand my concern as everything else can be very uncomfortable but not generally life threatening. They've gone a long way to reassuring me with their explanations; they will have seen considerably more of everything heart electrics than my personal experience; though they still have no explanation for the ECG issues at the end of my ablation that looked like a MI/broken heart syndrome and admit that my electrics are 'difficult'.

    I have had these patterns on the Alivecor ECG since I activated it about 9 months ago and am still here! So the benign explanations seem the most likely causes.

    I hope that this is reassuring; as I say try to explore with your team until you feel comfortable with the answers.

    Take care.


  • Thank you so much for responding Jo!! I don't see my reply posted so I will repost... (hope this does not post twice). Your situation does sound a lot like mine. I am tending to believe, more and more, that it is the AliveCor device itself. Sometimes the tracings look really jiggly shortly before the erratic spikes begin, and it finally happened when my husband was home so that I could see whether it did this with his too... it did!!! They weren't spikey, but they were very jiggly when he normally has very smooth tracings. So I feel less anxious that it is my heart now. But I am still not sure because one of the times I was experiencing symptoms when the tracings were spikey, and when the symptoms stopped, so did the spikes. So to be sure, I want to order another portable ECG device that has the sticky leads and see whether the tracings also look erratic when the AliveCor does this. If it does, I will know that it is my heart. I just have to research them because I want one that also gives an analysis. It is interesting that you linked yours to meals and the vagal nerve because I have been telling my cardiologist that my heart rate shoots up and the PVCs go crazy during and after I eat or drink anything. She gave me a strange look then too and attributes them to stress. But I am certain there is a connection. Thanks again for responding!!


  • Hi -better late than never. So sorry to hear how hard this is all being for you. I eventually (after years of being fobbed off and eventually 'giving up'), found this site and took advice from all those lovely people out there who have so much experience & so much to give. I asked my GP for a private referral to an EP - (I had to insist in the end) - Its all been well worth it. I asked both the EP & the Cardiologist (who has come on board since), their opinion on the Alivecor and they thought it was a good device. I too get 'electrical interference' coming up on mine. While having an ECG for the EP, the nurse kept calling to him that there was 'electrical interference' - & she spent a long & frustrating time looking for the cause. I did say, "I think its me" a couple of times but was not taken seriously as she continued to search for the problem. Eventually he asked her for the readings she did have and then said "It is her and laughed". I know in my case that I can cause it.

    If you can scrape together approx £250, then tell your middle man (oh sorry Dr) that you WILL BE REFERRED - You are 100% on the way to knowing if there is a problem and if there is, dealing with it. I saw the Electrophysiologist privately but then asked to be transferred back to the NHS. It was my way of getting my NHS number noticed - and believe me it has been - as I certainly was not being listened too.

    Having an MRI recently - the staff were having problems and eventually discontinued the use of their ECG monitor. I was in and out of the scanner like a yo-yo while they tried to sort it out. I did say it was me but they too dismissed this idea. It concerned me but I know the EP is aware of the situation so I'm hoping he remembers!!!! lol

    Kind regards Ann

You may also like...