ECG


Guardian for your wrist: ECG, irregular heartbeat notification added to Apple Watch in Canada

Customers can take an ECG reading with Apple Watch Series 4 at any time. (Apple)

As health statistics and wellness becomes a larger priority for Apple and their suite of tech offerings, the company is launching the ECG, or electrocardiogram, and irregular heartbeat notifications in Canada.

New electrodes in Apple Watch Series 4 now enable customers to take an ECG directly from the wrist. (Apple)

The features, which have been available in the U.S. last year and in the E.U. in March, comes to Canada and Singapore on Apple Watch Series 4 via a software update.

The ECG function, on Apple Watch with a Medical Device License from Health Canada, will capture an electrocardiogram when a user prompts a record upon feeling symptoms (i.e. rapid or skipped heart beat). This allows users to capture information in the moment for review by a physician. It’s important to note that the device does not check for heart attacks.

All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored securely in the Health app on iPhone. (Apple)

“We’ve seen the ECG App and irregular rhythm notifications on Apple Watch have meaningful impact on our customers across the United States, Europe and Hong Kong,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a news release. “We are excited to bring these features to customers in Canada, giving them access to empowering information about their heart health.”

Apple Watch Series 1 or later with watchOS 5.3 sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is identified. (Apple)

Additionally, the irregular rhythm notification is being rolled out to all Apple Watch users (Series 1 and later), leveraging the optical heart sensor to notify users if it detects a rhythm that can appear as an atrial fibrillation (or AFib).

Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation estimates AFib affects over 350,000 Canadians, adding that it causes one-third of all strokes over the age of 60.

As these devices become more common in the Canadian market, the tech giant is hoping it can equip users with tools to help healthcare professionals detect and diagnose health issues, marking a significant next chapter in Apple’s venture in health data—stored on device and private to the user.