With Pocket Sized Heart Monitor, This Startup Wants to Radically Change Cardiac Care

Two years ago, Rahul Rastogi rushed his 58 year old father to a hospital in Noida with a heart condition. The next few days, his heart had to be closely monitored. Rastogi got talking to the doctors and found that there was no easy way to do this.

Diabetics have glucometers. But for heart conditions, there weren’t any devices that consumers could operate on their own. Rastogi and his wife, both engineers from Aligarh Muslim University, decided to make one.

His wife Neha, a software engineer with a large corporation, quit her job to take up the pursuit full time. Eighteen months later, the duo have a prototype, the size of a credit card, capable of monitoring the heart.Sanket

“You needed a trained person to operate the ECG and it is expensive. And the Chinese devices aren’t any good,” says Rastogi. He has toured many hospitals in smaller cities and found that cardiac facilities are bad. “There were heart patients lying outside in hospital corridors,” he says.

The device called Sanket, is now ready to be productized and sold for a fifth of the price at which such devices are now sold. Rastogi is trying to patent the technology and is about to start the process to get an FDA approval.

A smartphone app linked to the device is used to store and share the data. This comes in handy, especially when doctors want to monitor the patient’s heart remotely. Sanket can also raise an alarm when it notices something abnormal.

Smartphone linked heart monitors are new. Only a handful of companies make it. Interpreting the inputs received from the censor need to be accurate for it to be of any practical use. “The algorithms are tough,” says Rastogi who plans to have the product ready for clinical trials in a few months.

San Francisco based AliveCor recently received FDA approval to sell its smartphone based single-channel ECG device over the counter. The company is selling it  at $199 and is planning to ship directly to consumers by March.

AliveCor first received FDA clearance in 2012 for its iOS based devices. But that needed a doctors prescription to be sold. The company, which focuses on the developed markets, raised $10.5 mn from Khosla Ventures & others.

Rastogi figures that there are over 15 million people in India who are at the risk of a heart condition or have undergone a heart surgery.

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