It's not available for purchase yet, but AliveCor's iPhone case and app could make a trip to a cardiac specialist for an ECG a thing of the past.
The case, which is currently designed for the iPhone 4/4S, is a portable electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart, usually with a trained cardiologist making the call on finding abnormalities that could be the sign of heart disease. The AliveCor case contains two sensors that are placed on the patients chest, after which the device takes a 30-second reading and uploads the acquired data to secure cloud storage.
Once the information is available, a medical professional can access and analyze it. Since people at risk of cardiac disease could essentially self-administer an ECG at any time, AliveCor's product could provide an inexpensive way to do initial screenings and monitoring of heart conditions. Remote monitoring could be done with the device in the future, alerting a patient to take another reading or visit a doctor automatically.
At this time, the AliveCor ECG is only available in a US$199 version intended for use on dogs by veterinarians. It has, though, been useful to at least one person -- Scripps cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol used a sample for-human device to examine a passenger who was complaining of chest pain on a flight. The device showed that the passenger was having a heart attack, and the plane made an unscheduled landing so that the person could receive emergency treatment.