Apple Watch Series 4 can perform an ECG test

Apple’s 2018 Event had a lot of highlights that were sure to get people excited. The headlining announcement was hands down the new iPhones but the star of the show, that has to be the new Apple Watch Series 4. The fourth generation Apple Watch maintains the wearable’s square-faced, minimalist form factor, but improves how much info can be squeezed on that tiny display, and the watch’s health-tracking capabilities.

Apple Watch Series 4 runs watchOS 5 and brings advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG).

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Apple Watch Series 4 and ECG test

Apple Watch Series 4 enables customers to take an ECG reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal.

“We’ve added electrodes into the back sapphire crystal and the digital crown, allowing you to take an electrocardiogram. This is the first ECG product offered over the counter, directly to consumers,” said COO Jeff Williams

With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

If this isn’t the future of medical diagnosis, I don’t know what is.

Many analysts aren’t exactly sure if this move is the wisest of ideas. Healthcare providers usually use ECGs in hospitals to measure the heart’s electrical activity and detect abnormalities in its rhythm. But with the latest iteration of its smartwatch, Apple wants to put an ECG on your wrist that you can use “anytime, anywhere.”

With watchOS 5, Apple Watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is detected. It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

Fall Detection

Fall detection utilizes a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur.
By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with the location to emergency contacts.
These aren’t the only features baked into this next-gen wearable by Apple. However, almost all the new features are clearly geared towards health conscious persons. This is a device you would want to get for your ageing relatives for the added convenience of constantly and easily keeping track of their health.