Smartwatch can help detect signs of cardiac arrest for at-risk patients

Fitness trackers typically monitor users’ sleep, activity and exercise patterns. But the iBeat, a new wearable technology, does those things while trying to reduce deaths due to the leading fatality worldwide, heart disease.

The iBeat smartwatch uses microsensors to measure users’ heart rate for irregularities that may signal cardiac arrest or heart attack. The device also comes with a built-in radio, microphone and GPS.

“There are many devices on the market including diabetic monitors, heart-rate monitors, and other health monitoring solutions, but all these devices only passively monitor you,” Ryan Howard, founder and CEO of iBeat, said in a news release. “None of them actively monitor and analyze your heart health around-the-clock like the iBeat Life Monitor.”

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When a cardiac incident is detected, the iBeat vibrates to alert the user, prompting him or her to touch the screen indicating whether everything is OK. If he or she responds with “no” or does not reply within 10 seconds, their linked emergency contacts and iBeat’s 24/7 heart dispatch team receive a text, email or phone notification with the user’s location and the type of emergency. The device is cellular enabled, has built-in GPS and features a help on-demand button.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. Each year, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Heart disease, a risk factor for heart attacks, is responsible for one in every four deaths in the U.S.

“If you suffer a life-threatening heart incident such as sudden cardiac arrest, you have a 90 percent chance of dying without intervention,” Howard said in the release. “Continual monitoring and quick intervention can mean the difference between life and death in emergency situations.”

The iBeat is available for pre-order on It costs $150 and an additional $17 per month for the monitoring service.