Apple Watch series 4 gets ECG app, detects irregular heart beats

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The company has made both of these technologies available over-the-counter to consumers, who only need an Apple Watch Series 4 model to access them. When you want to take an ECG on the Apple Watch, it takes just 30 seconds.

Adds the ability to receive an alert if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation is detected (US and USA territories only).

Apple says the ECG app will be "capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram".

"The ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 captures heart rhythm in a moment when customers experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heartbeat and helping to provide critical data to physicians", the Apple announcement notes. However, the ECG and irregular heart rhythm detection are only rolling out to the US.

It was recently revealed that the Apple Watch Series 4's groundbreaking electrocardiogram (ECG) feature will be activated in the upcoming WatchOS 5.1.2 update.

Users will have to use the new ECG app to start the process.

The first time you launch the Health app iPhone after installing the watchOS 5.1.2 update, you'll be asked to set up the irregular rhythm notification. 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. Doing this completes the circuit, enabling the device to measure heart electrical signals. To comply with United States regulations, Apple has also announced that it will honor refund requests related to health features for up to 45 days after purchase. All data is store in the iPhone's Health app and it can be exported as a PDF, making it possible to share it with doctors. If the feature detects five abnormal readings consecutively, the feature will prompt you about your condition and suggest that you visit a doctor as soon as possible. Users are required to have an iPhone 5s or newer device running iOS 12.1.1 with Apple's Health app installed. I couldn't really test this function (because if it doesn't pick up any wonky patterns, you don't receive any notifications), but it's nice to know that it's there in the background, keeping watch (no pun intended) over my ticker.

With that out of the way, you can download the latest update for all compatible watches over the air. "At the American Heart Association, we are committed to educating and empowering people to be proactive in all areas of their heart health and general well-being".