Tired of trekking it to the doctor’s office to track your heart health? Qardio, pronounced kwärdeo, is a San Francisco-based startup attempting to revolutionize the way we monitor our heart health by offering smart and beautifully designed tracking solutions.
Co-founder Marco Peluso was inspired to create Qardio after his own father suffered a stroke while they were on the phone. Peluso recognized that something was wrong and called a neighbor to transport his father to the hospital. However, doctors were unable to determine the cause of his distress. It wasn’t until months later that medical professionals identified the abnormal heartbeat that allowed them to diagnose his initial stroke.
Frustrated with the lack of available home monitoring systems that could have helped alert his father to a problem, Marco Peluso teamed up with Rosario Iannella to create a device that gives accurate readings and is convenient to use in or out of the home.
What Does Quardio Offer?
Qardio aims to provide invaluable tools for those monitoring their heart’s health, from anyone with a medical condition to serious athletes tracking their performance.
QardioArm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
Quardio’s first product was the QardioArm, which claims to make blood pressure monitoring easier by offering:
- Accurate and clinically validated readings: First, QardioArm measures your systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate, while detecting any irregular heartbeats. Then, it combines these measurements to deliver an average reading.
- FDA approval: Qardio received a 2014 FDA approval for at-home use.
- Simple setup and use: Setting up QardioArm is as simple as touching your smartphone to the device. Subsequent readings are stored on your smartphone or tablet automatically, meaning that you don’t have to remember to write down daily readings.
- Easy to understand results: QardioArm uses a corresponding smartphone application to display trends, color-coded charts, and averages so that you know what your readings mean.
The QardioArm application is chock full of additional features that aim to make routine measurements easier, including setting reminders and allowing you to easily share your results with loved ones and medical professionals.
QardioArm. Image credit: Qardio, Inc.
Additionally, the Qardio team states that they designed their wireless blood pressure monitor with portability and discretion in mind. Weighing in at only a little over half a pound and roughly the size of a smartphone, the manufacturers claim that QardioArm is small enough to take anywhere and easy enough to use everywhere.
QardioBase Wireless Smart Scale & Full Body Analyzer
The QardioBase is a smart scale designed to help users know their bodies better by providing smart feedback and goal tracking.
In Traditional Mode, the QardioBase displays a user's weight, along with body fat and muscle percentages. This helps users understand not just whether or not their weight changes, but what those changes can be attributed to.
QardioBase. Image credit: Qardio, Inc.
The QardioBase also features a Smart Feedback mode that replaces those numbers with emoticons; smiling, neutral, or sad faces let users know how close they are to achieving their weekly goals.
On top of encouraging weekly progress by telling users when their goals have been achieved, long-term progress is also tracked on the Qardio application.
If you have trouble seeing the small numbers on a scale, not to worry. The QardioBase features haptic feedback. This is a gentle vibration that lets you know when your measurement have been taken, so users with visual impairments aren’t left guessing.
Multiple family members can use QardioBase—the device will recognize different users automatically. It even has a pregnancy mode to help expecting mothers track their physical changes and stay on top of pregnancy weight.
QardioCore Wireless EKG/ ECG
Unlike traditional EKG readings, which are performed at your doctor’s office, the QardioCore doesn’t require wires or patches to be affixed to your skin.
Instead, this discreet digital health-monitoring device is designed to make staying on top of your heart’s health easy, monitoring your condition or improving your cardio training during day-to-day activities—even your exercise routine.
QardioCore. Image credit: Qardio, Inc.
The multi-sensor EKG sits comfortably around your ribcage, measuring your body temperature, respiratory rate, activities, heart rate, and stress.
According to Qardio, the QardioCore wireless EKG monitor has been clinically validated to accurately record and analyze a user's overall heart performance in real time. While FDA approval is still pending, once achieved, it will enable doctors and healthcare providers to access medically accurate live data remotely, giving them greater insight into their patient's overall heart health and behavior.
In addition to heart rate monitoring, the QardioCore offers features aimed at helping athletes train more efficiently. It uses an accelerometer and gyro to watch running form to determine if you’re slouching and to measure cadence.
The same sensors also monitor oscillation, helping runners to optimize stride length, as well as respiration and stress levels. There’s onboard memory, too, allowing you to exercise without bringing your phone along, and the battery's good for up to two days.
Qardio Pricing & Refund Policy
Qardio products are available at a wide range of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Walgreens. You can also purchase directly through the Qardio official website. Prices and options for each are:
- The QardioArm ($99) is available in yellow, blue, red, white, burgundy, navy, or gold. It runs off of four AAA batteries and must be synced with a smartphone or tablet with an Android, Apple Watch, or iOS7.0 or later.
- The QardioBase (149.99) is 12.5 inches in diameter and is available only in white. It requires eight AAA batteries, which the website claims will last one year with regular use. The QardioBase only measures from 9-396 pounds (5-180 kilograms) and will not work with an Android device. Instead, it requires an iOS7.0 or later, or an Apple Watch.
- The QardioCore is not yet available for purchase. However, those interested can sign up for notification on Qardio’s website to be first in line.
The shipping cost for your Qardio purchase varies with the weight and dimensions of each order, as well as the distance required. Qardio ships to multiple countries around the globe from their two warehouses, one in the US and one in Europe, and costs will be calculated from the nearest location.
If you’re not satisfied with your Qardio purchase, it can be returned for a no-questions-asked, full refund within 30 days of receiving your order. To do so, you must first contact Qardio’s customer service to receive a Return Merchandise Authorization number. Associated shipping fees will not be refunded. Also, note that this guarantee only applies to purchases made on www.getqardio.com.
How Does Cardio Help Your Heart’s Health?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a lack of exercise is closely related to high blood pressure because regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. In turn, the easier your heart has it, the less stress is placed on your arteries, resulting in lower blood pressure.
There’s not a single, specific exercise that can help with blood pressure. Instead, health professionals encourage those concerned about their blood pressure to engage in general activities, such as like walking, taking the stairs, and moderate to vigorous yard work or housework. Other beneficial exercises include:
While that’s all the more reason to break a sweat, what about those who are beyond prevention?
Regular physical activity is also proven to help lower cases of mild to moderately elevated blood pressure. However, it takes about one to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure, and the benefits last only as long as you continue to exercise.
Bottom Line: Does Qardio Compliment Your Cardio?
Qardio claims to make monitoring your heart health and fitness goals smarter and simpler with their family of high-tech devices. But, can Qardio help you to be healthier?
That depends on your goals. Those interested in keeping a watchful eye on their blood pressure may find the QardioArm to be a helpful accessory. The device has received positive reviews, stating that it is both accurate and easy to use.
However, another reviewer at The Gadgeteer found that the blood pressure reading given by QardioArm was significantly higher than the results measured by his doctor at the same time.
“My Dr. likes technology, so we did another test and although the Qardio reading came down, there was still a 20 point difference between it and what the Doctor found.”
This leads us to suggest that those interested in monitoring their blood pressure with QardioArm run the device’s readings by their own doctor to check accuracy within the allotted return period, in case it proves to be inaccurate.
Because it’s not yet available for purchase, we were unable to find reviews of the QardioCore at this time. That being said, if you suffer from hypertension or chronic heart disease, you may want to speak with your doctor before investing in the device.
That’s because, as Outside Online states, the sheer volume of data offered by QardioCore is likely overkill unless you're training hard. But if you are looking to fine-tune a fitness plan, it might be a very valuable tool.
Finally, unlike Qardio’s other two devices, which are aimed at measuring heart health, the QardioBase focuses more on the measurements of your own bottom line.
While beautifully designed and definitely smarter than your average scale, users might be turned off by the requirement of an iOS operating system. Additionally, as reported by PC Mag, the QardioBase’s shape makes it prone to wobbling—a potential problem for those who struggle with balance and mobility.
Qardio’s family of products offers some definite benefits, including the ability to track results over long periods of time, as well as easy sharing with loved ones and your health professionals. However, at the end of the day, those benefits depend on how regularly you use Qardio to track your health.
Similarly, knowing your numbers those at risk for health disease to possibly prevent an attack. But, it depends on what users do with that information that will determine whether or not Qardio is really useful.
2 out of 3 isn't bad
I own all 3 Qardio products (scale, BP cuff, ECG strap). The scale and BP cuff are both excellent. Bluetooth scales have been around for quite a while, having the integrated hardware for this system is great, but other than that, not much to write about, it's just a great scale.
The BP cuff, however, is a significant improvement over the many I have owned. The design is durable and powerful. I think powerful is important as it creates the pressure and contact patch necessary for reproducible bp results. I use the cuff almost every day, and I've only had one anomalous reading after months of use. The only trick is to figure out the correct orientation on one's arm, but once sorted, it's fantastic.
That brings us to the ECG strap. I was super excited about this product before I received it. I have ongoing challenges with arrhythmia and having this capability would provide me not only with peace of mind, but a significant decrease in doctor visit frequency. Sadly, after two days of trying, I cannot get it to work reliably. This is due almost entirely to poor hardware design, in my opinion. There are four sensors that must remain in contact with your skin in order to create a reliable trace. Three of those sensors are on the midline of the strap (so, the equator of your chest if you will), the fourth is on the vertical spar that reaches up toward the heart when worn normally. The challenge is in finding a position to maintain the required contact. The sensors are housed in a hard plastic shell that attaches to a flexible strap. If your chest does not reasonably approximate the shape of said plastic shell, there is no way to maintain that contact, the sensors remain suspended above my skin in the gap between pectoralis muscles.
Qardio suggests inverting the sensors if one has a concave chest. My chest is definitely not concave, but I tried it anyway to no avail. I believe that if Qardio had studied the design of the many available Bluetooth heart monitors (Wahoo, Garmin, etc.), they would determine that the three sensors along the midline should be mounted in the flexible strap, wired to a receiver more centrally located. The fourth sensor could then be mounted to a material that has the semi-rigid quality necessary to maintain contact without compromising the entire product. So, far, the best I've been able to achieve is in wearing the sensor, positioned while I'm slouched over and completely still. Only then have I been able to obtain a quality trace. Any movement at all completely disrupts the signal.
I bought the device primarily to measure the incidence of arrhythmia during exercise and to monitor during sleep. Sadly, I see no opportunity to use it for either application without re-engineering the product myself (which I may do). It's my sincere hope that Qardio can adjust and release a 2.0 version of this product that is better tested and more usable.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
1 out 1 people found this review helpful
It solved a big problem for me
I could not be more pleased after many days of Qardio use. It's so compact, easy, and fool-proof. It pairs instantly every time with my iPhone6. It is the blood pressure cuff that I will actually use.
I always recommend it to my friends, it is easy to use and can save your life.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend