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Apple Watch ECG App | A Cardiologists View


Last year Apple released an ECG App for the Apple Watch. The ECG application is designed to test for atrial fibrillation (AFib) by monitoring a user’s heart rhythm. AFib is a risk factor for strokes and can indicate that something is wrong and that the Apple Watch user needs medical attention.


The iWatch ECG application allows users to set up alerts and warn them when irregular heartbeat rhythms are detected.

For older patients, Heart Disease and Stroke are one of the leading causes of death for both women and men. While many factors may contribute to the disease, it is often preventable through medicine, good nutrition, and exercise.

The Goal of the iWatch ECG App is to help monitor and warn users (early detection) who are in or close to the danger zone and may or may not be aware.

What is an ECG

An electrocardiogram (also called an ECG or EKG) is a test that records the timing and strength of the electrical signals that make the heartbeat. By looking at an ECG, a cardiologist can gain insights about your heart rhythm and look for irregularities.

How to use the ECG app

The ECG app records an electrocardiogram which represents the electrical pulses that make your heartbeat. The ECG app checks these pulses to get your heart rate and monitor if the upper and lower chambers of your heart are in rhythm. If they’re out of rhythm, that could be AFib.


The ECG app is currently available only in certain countries and regions. Learn where the ECG app is available.

Here’s what you need

Set up the ECG app

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  2. Follow the onscreen steps. If you don’t see a prompt to set up, tap Browse >Heart > Electrocardiograms (ECG) > Set Up ECG App.
  3. After you complete set up, open the ECG app to take an ECG.


Take an ECG

The beauty of the app is you can take an ECG at any time when you’re feeling symptoms such as a rapid or skipped a heartbeat, when you have other general concerns about your heart health, or when you receive an irregular rhythm notification.

  1. Make sure that your Apple Watch is snug and on the wrist that you selected in the Apple Watch app. To check, open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, then go to General > Watch Orientation.
  2. Open the ECG app on your Apple Watch.
  3. Rest your arms on a table or in your lap.
  4. With the hand opposite your watch, hold your finger on the Digital Crown. You don’t need to press the Digital Crown during the session.
  5. Wait. The recording takes 30 seconds. At the end of the recording, you will receive a classification, then you can tap Add Symptoms and choose your symptoms.
  6. Tap Save to note any symptoms, then tap Done.

Is There A Downside To The Apple Watch ECG?

Yes. While any advancement or device has its merits, the ECG app could lead to false positives and unnecessary medical treatment.

Bottom Line

While the Apple Watch’s iWatch ECG App isn’t a doctor, it can help detect early warning signs of a heart issue, which may need immediate medical attention.

The best use case would be for a patient who already has an existing heart condition and needs more proactive monitoring.

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