Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: Fabulous little EKG machine

Greetings, faithful readers, from the aftermath of a long Internet outage. I want to review a nifty portable EKG machine that our clinic recently received from a generous donor.

Sold on eBay by a Chinese company called Medeshop for $239.00 plus $29.00 shipping (American dollars), this electrocardiogram machine fits in one's palm and weighs 800 grams. It arrived promptly (to a US address, after which it was hand-carried to Indonesia) and came with detailed instructions in somewhat fractured but quite understandable English. And I couldn't be more pleased with it.

For one thing, it's a snap to use. We borrowed one of our male nurses and had it on him within minutes, using its handy suction-cup and clamp attachments. After five or ten minutes' spent studying the instructions, we'd mastered all the buttons and options, each of which was close to intuitive.

For another thing, it's all but self-contained. For one thing, the suction cups and clamps mean no disposable stickers--not only are those stickers expensive and hard to obtain in remote areas, but they also generate trash. And here in rural Indonesia as everywhere in the world, trash is a big problem. The only thing this machine does need is paper for printouts--unless you decide to hook it up to your PC and view the EKGs digitally. Our clinic is Mac-based and we're not able to choose this option, but one could conceivably go completely paperless and trashless with this EKG. In a low-resource environment, all things being equal, equipment that doesn't require disposable parts and that behaves in a near self-sufficient matter should be given greater weight in purchase decisions than equipment that relies on parts that must be continually bought and replenished. Even if one has a steady supply of parts, they can go missing or be hard to store or keep track of in a small clinic.

Finally, one can operate without power--its battery lasts at least half an hour after being fully charged. That is absolutely key in an environment where the power often goes out. And you can opt for backlighting.

This machine allows the user to toggle through each lead on a standard 12-lead EKG; one can then opt to print it out. The printout isn't like a full-sized machine that prints a series of heartbeats from the simultaneous point of view of each of the leads--on this little machine, each lead is measured for three seconds sequentially. So you have to bear in mind that you're not comparing individual heartbeats across leads.

It offers various paper speeds and filters, too. I'm delighted with this thing and hope our clinic will eventually be able to obtain a few more. But if we never do, it's so light and portable that we can carry it from bedside to bedside and use it as we would any other portable equipment.

Verdict: great product.


  1. sounds great. what is it called?

  2. It's just called "Single Channel 1-CH ECG EKG Machine portable handheld" on Ebay. The original hyperlink I posted (maybe you didn't see it--it's in grey) has expired, but there are identical machines still for sale. I found one for sale by "perfectbidshop888" for the same price.

    After several months of using this machine, I still like it tremendously. It even accepts paper that's slightly smaller than its preferred size--someone sent us a bunch of rolls, and we managed to make it work.

  3. Indeed, but now we are a year does it still work well ?

  4. It does still work and is being used even more frequently since the local government clinic started sending its patients to get their EKGs on our machine (theirs isn't working).