ECG Functionality Comes to Apple Watch

Kenny Tucker
December 7, 2018

The newest update for Apple Watches is out now, bringing a highly anticipated feature to Series 4 devices. ECGs with your doctor generally involve 12 leads, while the Series 4 is only a single lead.

The new iPhones may have been the main event of today's Apple product launch, but the Apple Watch Series 4 also made quite the impression. Among the features announced was a preview of the ability to generate an electrocardiogram or ECG within thirty seconds by placing a finger on the Digital Crown. Using the built-in heart rate monitor, the watch will look for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and alert the wearer if an irregularity is found, with a suggestion of following up with a doctor. One of the standout features is the new heart-monitoring hardware that allows the device to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor electrical activity in the heart.

The process takes about 30 seconds to complete, and then the Watch will show your measurement as a waveform on its screen along with an explanation of what it means.

The update will enable ECG functionality on the Apple Watch Series 4 which was heavily publicized by Apple during the unveiling of the wearable. ECG results taken with the Apple Watch are stored in the Health app, from which they can be exported as a PDF for sharing with your physician.

"Apple Watch has helped so many people around the world, and we are humbled that it has become such an important part of our customers' lives", Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

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Apple Watches running watchOS 5.1.2 can also detect irregular heart rhythms in the background and send out a notification if an irregular rhythm is detected.

Today, with the release of watchOS 5.1.2, Apple has shipped the ECG app.

While the ECG mechanism is limited to Apple Watch Series 4 models, watchOS 5.1.2 brings to almost all Apple Watch models (Series 1, 2 & 3) a useful new notification feature created to inform wearers if they have an abnormal heart rhythm in the first place - which is among the most paramount symptoms indicative of Afib, and/or a host of other underlying health anomalies.

To get the new update, you simply have to go to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigate over to General.

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