Apple Watch Takes Personal Health Screening To A New Level

Apple Watch is taking personal health to a new level with the launch of its ECG app – the first medically-certified Apple watch function – which has been four years in the making.

The Watch Series 4 now has the ability to identify signs of Atrial Fibrillation – or AFib, an irregular heartbeat – whilst Series 1, 2, 3 and 4 owners will benefit from Irregular Heart Rhythm monitoring which will passively take readings from your wrist in the background (every two hours), alerting you if it records a series of readings that exhibit signs of AFib. A commonly-found heart disorder, it doesn’t always present symptoms and can cause strokes and heart failure, so having the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification – now health-safety-standard CE-marked in 19 European countries – is a huge leap in health-related wearable tech.

“We are confident in the ability of these features to help users have more informed conversations with their physicians,” said Sumbul Desai, MD, Apple’s vice president of health. “With the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature, customers can now better understand aspects of their heart health in a more meaningful way.”

It works simply and without the need for effort or extra accessories. Whenever you wish to take an AFib ECG reading, just hold your finger on the Digital Crown (the button that serves like the home button for the watch). It uses new electrodes built into the watch’s back crystal and the Digital Crown to create a circuit and measure the electrical signals across the heart to form an ECG reading. These results are then recorded and stored in your app and you can also add additional symptoms and information so, should you need to, the results can be shared with your doctor.

ECG readings were previously only possible via a visit to your doctor, but now those who require regular heart monitoring or those who might not be aware of a heart issue can easily track their heart rate – all from their wrist.

According to the AF (AFib) Association, the stats all stack up for a very positive welcome to this personal heart tracking app. The most common heart rhythm disorder in the UK – there are 500,000 people with undiagnosed Atrial Fibrillation and AF-related strokes – reportedly costs the UK an estimated £2.2 billion each year. With the idea that heart problems could now be avoided, discovered earlier and monitored, this medical advancement surely makes the future of wearable tech brighter for patients and medical professionals.

The ECG app is now available with a free Apple WatchOS 5.1.2 update. Apple Watch starts at £399 and is available from


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