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To determine the diagnostic utility of a smartphone-based ECG device (Alivecor KardiaMobile) in awake bonobos (Pan paniscus).


7 adult bonobos in human care.


Bonobos were trained with positive reinforcement to hold 1 finger from each hand onto the KardiaMobile sensors for 30 seconds to obtain an ECG reading. Ten ECG tracings were recorded from each bonobo and evaluated by a veterinarian, a veterinary cardiologist, and a human cardiologist for tracing quality, tracing length, heart rate, identification of P-waves, and presence and quantification of premature ventricular or atrial contractions.


6 of the 7 bonobos were trained within 21 weeks to allow the collection of 10 diagnostic quality ECG tracings. The average heart rate recorded was 87 bpm (range = 60 to 118 bpm). Potential abnormalities identified by the KardiaMobile included premature ventricular contractions in 2 male bonobos and 1 premature atrial contraction in another male. There was strong agreement by reviewers in all ECG parameters except for the identification of P-waves.


The Alivecor KardiaMobile device has diagnostic utility as a screening tool for use in bonobos in human care. The training was accomplished to yield diagnostic ECG readings of acceptable duration in awake bonobos. Given the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in great apes, this technology may identify a subset of great apes who may benefit from early intervention and treatment in an effort to delay the progression of cardiac disease.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research