What things to Know About Fitbit' s New ECG Feature

Fitbit Sense watch with screen reading through " take heart rhythm assessment"

Picture: Fitbit

With the latest update, the Fitbit Sense watch can now give you a good electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) reading. This is just like the FDA-approved feature that the Apple Watch launched in 2018 , and the caveats are usually roughly the same.


What does an ECG do?

An electrocardiogram is a test that measures your own heartbeat. Unlike the simpler heartrate feature, which just tells you exactly how fast your heart is defeating, an ECG can detect much more detail what the electrical activity connected with your heartbeat looks like.


In a hospital, this would be done with electrode patches on your chest, arms and legs . The feature built into the particular Fitbit Sense or other smartwatches is a simpler version, but it could provide similar information. Most importantly, it may detect if you are in atrial fibrillation, a state in which your heart beats irregularly. Atrial fibrillation, which doctors frequently abbreviate to “Afib, ” can result in blood clots and stroke since blood is not flowing properly.

How useful is the ECG on the smartwatch?

If you think you may be having a heart attack, overlook what your watch is suggesting and call 911.


The watch doesn’t take ECGs continually, the way it measures your own heart rate. Instead, you have to tell this you’re ready to take an ECG, at which point the Fitbit can ask you to place your fingers around the corners of the watch. It will after that tell you if it detected a normal tempo or an abnormal one, or even if it was unable to get a good reading through.

The watch’s ECG feature is no replacement for being evaluated by a doctor. Correctly shown that a watch can pick upward at least some Afib, but addititionally there is research showing that they skip a lot, too . Fitbit says that will their FDA approval for the function was based on studies that demonstrated it detected 98. 7% associated with Afib cases and 100% associated with normal heart rhythms


The idea of this feature is that in case you do detect atrial fibrillation with the view, you can get in touch with your doctor and create plans for more detailed testing to determine what, if anything, is incorrect with you. In the app, you can down load a PDF version of your leads to share when you do. In theory, if this function detects atrial fibrillation you did not know you had, it could save your lifetime.