Apple Watch ECG app launches today with watchOS 5.1.2 update

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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.

"So now you can take an ECG any time, anywhere right from your wrist". If the app detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it will tell them that it has detected atrial fibrillation and Apple will recommend seeing a doctor for professional help.

After a number of delays and false starts, Apple rolled out its long-anticipated ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4 on Thursday.

AFib, as it's called by docs, is a heart disorder in which the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat rapidly and irregularly.

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The software update that brings the highly touted electrocardiogram app to the Apple Watch Series 4 is finally available to the public.

Whether the ECG app is effective remains to be seen.

The ECG app was evaluated in a clinical trial of about 600 participants, comparing their sinus rhythms to simultaneous 12-lead ECGs performed by a cardiologist, Apple said.

The Apple Watch will passively read your heart rate in the background and will warn you if it spots a suspicious pattern.

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This electrode pairs with another electrode built into the bottom of the Series 4's new sapphire crystal back.

The feature was first announced by Apple back in September, alongside FDA approval for De Novo classification for the ECG app. Doing this completes the circuit, enabling the device to measure heart electrical signals.

Apple, a well known strong advocate of the user privacy, has assured that all the data and the associated classifications including any noted symptoms will be stored securely in the Health app on iPhone.

The entire TIME piece is well worth checking out as it also provides us with an interesting timeline as to how Apple's interest in transforming the Apple Watch into a health-oriented device evolved over time. The Doctor confirmed the Watch's reading, saying "this probably saved you". It takes about a minute to setup the ECG feature and another few seconds to set up the irregular heartbeat notifications. My heart felt fine, so I wasn't surprised that the watch showed I was in Sinus (a.k.a. normal) Rhythm. "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".

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Both the ECG and the irregular heart rate warning features are meant to serve as health monitors.

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