The Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG (electrocardiogram) feature is finally available in Canada.
The ECG app and atrial fibrillation (AFib) feature launched in the U.S. alongside the release of the Series 4 back in late September, but the functionality is only now making its way to Canada.
Starting Monday, July 22nd, the Series 4’s ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications will be available as part of a free watchOS 5.3 update. Both of these features help Apple Watch users identify the signs of atrial fibrillation, a common form of irregular heart rhythm.
The ECG app gives users the ability to take an electrocardiogram directly from their wrist. This health data can then be provided to physicians to attain a more accurate diagnosis, according to Apple.
Electrodes built into the back crystal and ‘Digital Crown’ of the Series 4 power the ECG app, creating a closed circuit in the wearer’s body.
The feature is capable of detecting an irregular heart rhythm in 30 seconds, indicating whether the user has AFib, a healthy sinus rhythm, or if the test is inconclusive. To take an ECG, all the user needs to do is hold their finger on the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown with the wearable attached firmly to their wrist.
The other new Apple Watch feature now available in Canada is irregular heart rhythm notifications. This functionality analyzes the wearer’s heart rhythm in the background intermittently for signs of irregularities.
A notification is sent to the user if an irregular heart rhythm is detected during five checks over a minimum of 65 minutes. While the ECG feature is only available on the Apple Watch Series 4, irregular heart rhythm notifications work with the Apple Watch Series 1 or later.
Apple says it worked with the FDA in the United States for several years to achieve ‘De Novo‘ classification regarding the ECG app. This allows the company to offer the functionality over-the-counter, directly to consumers. In Canada, the tech giant has secured a Medical Device License from Health Canada for the ECG app and AFib notification.
Apple also released an extensive white paper surrounding the ‘Apple Heart Study‘ the company created that focuses on the Apple Watch’s heart-related features.
Back in late May, licenses for the Series 4’s ECG feature displayed was approved in Health Canada’s database.
To download the electrocardiogram update, navigate to the Apple Watch iOS app and select ‘General’ and then ‘Software Update.’ Other updates part of watchOS 5.3 include a fix for a major bug with the Walk-Talkie app that allowed it to be used to spy on people.