What is Apple’s EKG app like?
The electrocardiogram or ECG app allows watch wearers to take an EKG directly from the wrist. The way it is done is through the digital crown of the watch, which has a sensor that measures electrical signals from the chest.
In the case of irregular rhythm notification, this occurs from the optical sensor that is attached to the wrist, which measures the heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if it identifies an irregular heart rhythm that can be classified as atrial fibrillation (FA).
Atrial fibrillation can be defined as “an irregular and occasionally rapid heart rate that often causes poor blood supply,” according to the Mayo Clinic in the United States. The causes for it to occur can be very variable, from a heart defect by birth, high blood pressure or even a heart attack.
The important thing about receiving this notification is that AF is normally “silent” or asymptomatic, so receiving this type of notification can alert the user that something is not going so well and, therefore, take them to a medical consultation where they can detect other situations.
Apple said in a statement that it conducted a clinical trial of approximately 550 participants to review the ECG app’s ability to accurately classify an EKG recording as atrial fibrillation or sinus rhythm.
Among the results that the electrocardiogram app throws are:
- Sinus rhythm: which means that the heart beats in a uniform pattern of between 50 and 100 beats per minute.
- Atrial fibrillation: when there is an irregular pattern of between 50 and 120 beats per minute.
- High or low heart rate: a heart rate less than 50 beats per minute or greater than 120 beats per minute.
The clinical trial “demonstrated 99.3% specificity in classifying sinus rhythm and 98.5% sensitivity in classifying atrial fibrillation in the records. In the study, the ECG app was able to classify 87.8% of the recordings,” according to Apple’s statement.
How to do an EKG with Apple Watch
To take an EKG, after updating to the latest operating systems on Apple Watch and iPhone, Apple recommends that you follow these steps:
- Open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then go to General > Position.
- Open the ECG app on the Apple Watch.
- Rest your arms on a table or in your lap.
- Rest one finger of the hand opposite the one wearing the watch on the Digital Crown, without lifting it.
- Waiting. Registration takes 30 seconds. When registration ends, you will receive a ranking. You can then tap the option to add symptoms, and then select symptoms.
- Tap Save to set the symptoms in, then tap OK.
The result can be obtained in PDF in case the user wants to share it with their doctor. Apple recommends not taking these results as definitive, but always contrasting them with a medical opinion and considering that they are more valid when it comes to users over 22 years of age.