Are Your Patients Using the Apple ECG Watch?

December 27, 2018

Apple rolled out its electrocardiogram (ECG) app for the Apple Watch Series 4 in early December. It has a feature that goes well beyond simply measuring heart rate and displaying it in beats per minute, as wearable tech has done for decades.

The new device is the first smart watch to get FDA clearance for ECG monitoring via electrodes on its back and digital crown that measure the heart's electrical pulses. The updated app also includes a notification feature that checks for signs of atrial fibrillation (AF) and alerts the user if it detects an irregular rhythm on five consecutive rhythm checks during a minimum of 65 minutes. With the user's permission, the watch sends a PDF file of the data it collects directly to a physician.

In addition to the ECG app roll out, Apple announced its entry into cardiac research with the Apple Heart Study. In partnership with Stanford researchers, the study will collect Apple Watch ECG recordings from people who volunteer to share their data. The goal is to learn more about AF and potentially reduce the burden of stroke.

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