Fitbit's Sense smartwatch begins receiving ECG app update

One of the Fitbit Sense’s most notable features is its ability to assess heart rhythms for atrial fibrillation through an ECG app. When the FDA cleared that app for use back in September, Fitbit said it would be available for users this month. Now, the fitness wearable maker has revealed that the ECG app has started rolling out in the US and select regions in Asia and Europe. (See full list below.)

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a condition wherein a person exhibits irregular and/or rapid heart rate. It can be difficult to capture an AFib episode, making it hard to diagnose. Seeing as it could lead to serious complications like blood clots and stroke, devices that could detect the condition could save lives.

Fitbit says Sense users will have to complete a brief introduction to Heart Rhythm Assessment before they can fully use the ECG app. To do so, they’ll have to access it from the Assessments & Reports section in the Fitbit app’s Discover tab. Once they’re done with the introduction, only then will the ECG app be downloaded on their device. The app will automatically start installation after the user starts syncing their watch, though they could also manually get it from the Fitbit App Gallery if the automatic download doesn’t start.

To take a reading, a user needs to take a seat, select the wrist where they’re wearing their watch and then place their index finger and thumb on the opposite corners of the Sense’s metal frame for 30 seconds. The three possible results are Normal sinus rhythm, Atrial fibrillation (in case the device detects an irregular heart rhythm) and Inconclusive. Fitbit says the last result shows up if the user’s heart rate is below 50 bpm or above 120 bpm, which can happen due to various medical and non-medical reasons, such as too much movement, loose watch bands and the effect of certain medications.

In case users want to share their results with their healthcare providers — and, really, that’s the purpose of this feature — they can download a report from the Fitbit app’s Assessments & Reports section.

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Fitbit launched the Sense smartwatch last month and started selling it this October. In the US, it’s now available on the Fitbit website, Amazon and other retailers. The ECG app is only available in select regions, though, and is rolling out now in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, , Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

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