On the latest Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 models, there is a revolutionary feature that can analyze your heartbeat in a couple of seconds. It is done via the ECG sensor on the Digital Crown and the electrical heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch. Here’s how ECGs are taken on Apple Watch Series 4 and 5.
Before we begin taking an ECG, there are some precautions to prevent any mistakes or inaccuracies. Many heart conditions can’t be detected via the Apple Watch’s ECG, which includes blood clots, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and high blood pressure. These should be addressed by immediate medical treatment and should be called to emergency services if you experience symptoms pertaining to these conditions.
Other than the heart health problems that the ECG app can’t detect, make sure your wrists and hands are clean so the readings can be accurate. Also, stay still by resting your wrist on a table or on your lap. Do not press the Digital Crown or side button, or else the ECG reading will be interrupted. On the other hand, make sure the watch is on your wrist snugly, not loosely.
If this is the first time you’re using the ECG app on your Apple Watch, then make sure to update your iPhone and Apple Watch to the latest iOS and watchOS versions. In addition, you must be residing in a supported country that has the feature available.
Using The Feature for The First Time
To set up the feature on your Apple Watch, open the Health app on your iPhone. Follow the instructions on the screen and then you can start making ECGs on your Apple Watch. If you don’t see a prompt to set it up, then go to the Browse section, tap on Electrocardiograms (ECG) then to Set Up ECG app on Apple Watch.
Taking an ECG on Apple Watch
Now let’s get to the real thing, which is taking an ECG straight from your Apple Watch Series 4 or 5. Open the ECG app on the watch, then lay your wrist down on a flat surface. Then with your other hand (your wrist that doesn’t have an Apple Watch on), put your index finger on the Digital Crown and wait patiently for 30 seconds. Do not move your hand or your wrist during the session. After the ECG is taken, the screen will change to the results. If you’re experiencing symptoms, then tap on Add Symptoms and choose what symptoms you have. You can then view your ECGs on the Health app on your iPhone and share it with your doctor.
How to Read Your ECG Results
There are three types of results when ECGs are taken on Apple Watch. This includes a sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, and inconclusive readings. A sinus rhythm means that your heart is beating at normal resting rates from 50 to 100 BPM. The ECG will show evenly synchronized heartbeats in the results. Still, if you are not feeling well or concerned about your symptoms, then please see a doctor right away.
An atrial fibrillation reading means that the heart is beating irregularly at a rate of 50 to 120 BPM. AFib is a common form of arrhythmia, which means that the heart rhythm is irregular. If you are not diagnosed with AFib before and receive these results, then please see your doctor as soon as possible.
Finally, inconclusive results can be caused by many factors, such as wearing your Apple Watch improperly, having a pacemaker, other heart conditions that are other than AFib or a high or low heart rate. This includes the heart beating under 50 BPM and above 100 BPM. High heart rates can impact the app’s ability to detect arrhythmias while taking an ECG.
Exporting ECGs from your iPhone
Now it is time to share your ECG data with your doctor and your family. Open the Health app on your iPhone, tap on Browse, tap on Heart and Electrocardiograms (ECG). Then tap on the latest ECG waveform and tap on Export a PDF. You can view the preview of the PDF and print it out, iMessage or email it to your doctor.
All in all, taking an ECG on your Apple Watch is quick and easy. It helps detect arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, and many heart health issues before they get worse. In addition, Apple Watch wearers can also share their ECG samples to their doctors so it can make doctors’ appointments easier in case users experience symptoms or complications.