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ECG T-shirt Helps Prevent Heart Attacks

Israeli startup HealthWatch is joining the wearable technology trend with a wearable and washable electrocardiogram (ECG)—a T-shirt that can read and monitor a patient’s heart rate along with other vital signs.

Called the hWear T-shirt, the garment features ultrathin ECG sensors and special electrodes that are woven in with cotton or synthetic yarn strands. The 15-lead ECGs read the wearer’s heart rate and blood pressure and track any cardiac irregularities or other physiological signs that relate to heart attacks.

The readings are uploaded for processing to a cloud-based database via Wi-Fi or to a monitoring device using Bluetooth. Doctors are informedright away if any irregularity is detected, whether it be a cardiac event such as ischemia or arrhythmia, a respiratory abnormality, or a case of a  patient falling suddenly or becoming immobile for a prolonged period. Because everything happens in real time, doctors can respond immediately with a treatment protocol.

The speed at which data is generated also helps with monitoring the wearer’s heart condition. The T-shirt enables doctors to keep tabs on their patients regularly and remotely, without having to schedule a physical checkup or exam.

For now, the machine-washable hWear T-shirts are FDA-registered as Class I devices. HealthWatch is seeking an upgrade to Class II devices, in hopes of seeing the garments in action in professional medical settings.

The company is among the first suppliers of shirts of this kind. Its CEO, Uri Amir, believes the hWear line “will change the future of personal monitoring, offering around-the-clock peace of mind to users—wherever their lifestyle takes them.”

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