[FoRK] personal health telemetry

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Thu Jun 26 20:50:44 PDT 2008

Great portable, recording ECG (EKG, whatever) with LCD display and 
storage on SD, with software, pretty basic, to print traces.  Perfect 
except for needing just a little more resolution to resolve afib 
mini-peaks.  It even analyzes the trace and reports problems.  With the 
SD card you can record many times.
Omron HCG-801

The cardiologists provided me with a "disposable" ECG recorder called 
the iCardia Super (RX Only).  It uses two standard wet electrodes, can 
only record 2 40-second recordings, has no display, and uploads to a 
manned service via 300 baud acoustic coupling!  It's kind of a pain for 
me, since you need uncompressed audio telephony for modems of any kind.  
I have to wait to upload at the office.

I also use a Garmin GPS running / biking watch with a heart rate chest 
strap.  It tops out at 250, staying there for anything over that.

As I was researching PulseOx units, I found that they are used by both 
serious mountain climbers / hikers and unpressurized pilots to test for 
low oxygen.  Hoping to get back to both of those activities, it was easy 
to justify the cost.
I also found that it was great to combine this with the ECG to 
distinguish between ventricle contractions and actual effective 
pumping.  The reason that I hit a wall with strenuous uphill running, 
and the reason that they say that a heartbeat over 250 isn't good 
(actually, they generally say you're dead at that point, which isn't 
totally accurate apparently) is that effective pumping starts dropping 
rapidly with a heart rate over 250 or so.  Because the PulseOx measures 
heartbeat hydraulically, and this unit isn't confused by arrhythmia, I 
could compare successful blood movement with electrical pulses.  At 
around 230-250, they start diverging with successful pumps lowering the 
higher the electrical/muscular heart rate, 180, 140, 90, 60, and at that 
point, I was pretty much out of oxygen.  The first time I remember it 
happening, hiking up a steep Hawaiian ridge, it seemed like I forgot to 
breathe.  I would sit, build up oxygen, then do it again.  I'm always at 
99% until that wall.  Running an oxygen deficit is pretty much what you 
do sprinting (100-400meters, especially 200) and uphill running, so I 
had a lot of experience with that in track and cross-country.

Small, long-lasting battery, tough, sweat resistant, accurate, with 
light, only slightly susceptible to bright sunlight (just turn your hand 
SPO Medical PulseOx 5500

I bought mine bundled with a stethoscope which was useful also.  I had 
one long ago and never got around to replacing it.
I ran across and bookmarked a medic / paramedic supply company the other 
day.  I might buy a scapel / needle / suture kit some time for 
back-country hikes.

I seemed to have escaped high blood pressure from running, maybe diet, 
however there are many automated blood pressure test cuffs out there.  
My paternal grandfather, from the previous story, had blood pressure in 
the 300 range and would have spontaneous pin-prick bleeding.  I was told 
that his aorta ripped out at 49, walking out of work one day.

Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Jun 26, 2008, at 1:52 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> If anyone wants pointers to getting your own pocket ECG or tiny pulse 
>> oxygen meter ("pulse ox"), let me know.  It took some searching, but 
>> has been very valuable to self-monitoring and making decisions.
> I'd like some pointers.  I've got a couple of links to personal 
> bio-telemetry devices I've been meaning to post...  check out:
>   http://www.resperate.com/
There's another unit that I bought my son that would seem to be more 
effective.  I couldn't even try it when I had arrhythmia.
It measures your inter-heartbeat delay to get an accurate instant 
heartrate.  It uses that along with sensing your breathing I think to 
provide a biofeedback loop, watching trends.  It is sold as a device to 
lower anxiety and teach relaxation or similar, however based on 
Resperate just getting you to lower your oxygen intake by measuring 
breath, I think it would work better.  As soon as I can dig up the info, 
I'll followup.

> jb

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