Apple Watch’s ECG app and AFib alerts: What cardiologists want you to know

Touching the Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown completes the circuit and electrical signals across the heart are measured.
Touching the Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown completes the circuit and electrical signals across the heart are measured.

Danielle Kosecki for CNET:

Last year, to much fanfare, Apple announced two new additions to the Apple Watch. There’s an ECG app exclusive to the Series 4 that can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) — the most common type of irregular heartbeat and a major risk factor for stroke — and the irregular heart rhythm notification (for all Apple Watches) which will alert you of irregular heart rhythms suggestive of AFib.

But how helpful are these AFib features really? And are they right for you or a loved one? If you’re considering buying a Series 4 — or holding out for a Series 5 — just for the ECG app, here are a few things cardiologists want you to know.

MacDailyNews Take: Basically, this is just a rehash of everything Apple has already stated in their Apple Watch documentation here (AFib) and here (ECG app).

Bottom line: You’ll know a lot more about your heart and your health with an Apple Watch than without one.


  1. Bulletpoints within the original article.
    Suggested reading, because the synopsis here is useless.

    -AFib is a serious problem, but probably not among Apple Watch wearers
    -Experts are unsure whether widespread screening for AFib is beneficial
    -The Apple Watch is not a replacement for medical care
    -AFib is the only heart issue the ECG app can detect
    -These irregular rhythm features aren’t for everyone
    -The Apple Watch’s ECG app isn’t your only option

    1. Also from the article “the Apple Watch has, on multiple occasions, alerted people both young and old about heart issues they didn’t know existed.”

      The health features are nice extras right now but those features will grow and provide so much value in the future. No other company is even close to what Apple is doing with small wearable devices right now. Apple is in a league all their own.

  2. the goal is 5 minutes warning on stroke or heart attack. that would make all the difference in the world.

    a friend of mine died of a heart attack at the office, 4 blocks from a hospital. Two coworkers who were extensively trained recognized it as a heart attack immediately and began working on him. EMS was called immediately and were onsite within 3 minutes. All that wasn’t enough. 5 minutes warning could have made all the difference.

    Count your lucky stars, you never know when today is your last. When I look at an Apple Watch, I think if only…..

    Rest in peace S.T., you were a good man….

  3. Watch users are not immune to AFib, Actually, there is now a group within the Watch community who purchased the Watch specifically for EEC feature. Some of are older, but AFib can hit any time. As more data is received on other heart issues there will be more features.

    “Experts are unsure”. Really? Then their expertise holds no more weight than the consumer who decides they are getting an Watch. Maybe their Father dies young from a stroke or heart attach, or their doc has put them on statins, The “Experts” have zero chance of evaluating everyone’s situation re the Watch so they need to take care that they do not distort the consumer’s thought process on the decision to purchase.

    1. Disagree. The “experts” are being honest and not trying to sell anything.

      Apple should not distort the consumer’s thought process on the efficacy of the device. The bottom line is that there has not been research to show these are useful medical devices.

      Selling snake oil is immoral.

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