The electrocardiogram (ECG) feature Apple included in the Apple Watch Series 4 could be the most significant innovation the company launched this year. We have been thrilled by Apple’s new iPhones, a new MacBook Air with high-end computing capability, and the new iPad Pro. But the Watch Series 4, which Apple activated its ECG feature two nights ago, appears to have started saving lives already.
A Reddit user recently posted an experience of receiving a warning on his Apple watch which indicates he may be having AFib – a quivering heartbeat that could lead to stroke, heart failure, blood clots, and other heart-related complications. Been that Apple even stated that the Apple watch would at some point return false-positive, the user tried “again and again and again.” But later decided to go to the doctor the next morning after severally believing that the warning could be as a result of a “glitchy firmware.”
“This probably saved you,” the doctor said after confirming his watch’s reading. “I read about this last night and thought we would see an upswing this week. I didn’t expect it first thing this morning.”
ECG or EKG is the process of using electrodes (sensors) to record the heart’s electrical activity over a period of time. The Apple Watch Series 4 is the first device with ECG feature that has been cleared by FDA (not yet approved). Users are able to access important heart data without first consulting a doctor.
Devices with ECG are not supposed to replace the need to consult a doctor. It can only detect a few medical conditions; not all. However, the feature’s importance has marked its necessity in other smartwatches.
It is estimated that about 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib. The health condition affects at least 2% of North Americans and Europeans. But high costs deter most of these vulnerable people from ordinarily going to the doctor.
Considering the number of persons currently using Apple Watch Series 4, we can expect many similar stories to come up soon. This is one of the direct impacts of technology on people’s lives.