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How an Apple Watch with EKG Heart Monitor Will Work: Report

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Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg is claiming that Apple is developing an advanced heart-monitor for its next generation Apple Watch, as part of the company’s plans to turn its smartwatch into a serious medical device. While the current Apple Watch has a basic heart monitor, Apple wants to use advanced sensors to predict future afflictions instead of simply collecting historical data about the body.

A version being tested requires users to squeeze the frame of the Apple Watch with two fingers from the hand that’s not wearing the device, one of the people said. It then passes an imperceptible current across the person’s chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates. Such conditions can increase the risk of strokes and heart failure and develop in about one-quarter of people over 40, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tests like electrocardiograms or EKGs, which are are commonly performed in doctors’ offices, hospitals and ambulances, monitor the heart’s activity for short periods, limiting their ability to spot potential abnormalities. And while there are some wearable versions too, these usually track the heart continuously for a few days at most.

By adding an EKG monitor to the Apple Watch, it may become easier to predict arrhythmias as an adjunct to what is currently available. Although people familiar with Apple’s plans said that the company may still decide not to include the technology in future products. 

Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at the University of California, says that even though there is role for wearable EKG devices, there are only recommended for patients who are already displaying symptoms. “There’s no reason to follow ECG in normal, healthy people”.

Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette declined to issue a comment on the report.

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  • Tim

    It’s interesting, but seeing that it’s not passive monitoring, requiring you to hold the watch with the other hand, I wouldn’t upgrade or buy the thing to attain this feature.

  • Mr Dog

    Even doing it once a day could save your life.

  • David Milette

    As its a movement we often do to push side buttons I’d imagine they could potentially find a way to passively accomplish this 🙂

  • Ms Dog

    what if you get hit by a car? how is going to save your life

  • Mr Dog

    What? Lol

    It’s not some magical force field.

    Doing it once a day, COULD. As in, if there is ever a time in your life where you start to have problems, doing this once a day could identify the problem much earlier than not doing it

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