New way to monitor heart for tiny changes without bulky equipment

Monitor not much bigger than thumb drive

HOUSTON – There’s a new and much less invasive way to catch irregular heartbeats and treat them.

Ernie Capote does all he can to stay in shape. It's part of his job as a firefighter.

"Whether you bike, run, swim, you got to do something to stay active. Because, at a moment's notice you got to do what you got to do," Capote said.

In spite of his best efforts, Ernie started experiencing irregular heartbeats and hated the idea of wearing a heart monitor.

"Cause usually they're big and bulky and have to hang like a purse. And you tend to fight with them in your sleep," Capote said.

But cardiologist Dr. Carlos Zamora eased his concerns with a new device called CardioKey. It's a monitor not much bigger than a thumb drive.

"I think technology is the way to work and embrace health care, and I think people are going to be excited to have this new option," Dr. Zamora said.

The self-applicable patch is easy for patients to manage.

The device did pick up a slight arrhythmia in Ernie's heartbeat. But for now, it doesn't require treatment, just close observation.

"I feel great, I feel great," Capote said.

The device is just as accurate as older monitors and is covered by insurance.