We can now learn even more about our hearts and health with one of the latest smartwatch technologies on the scene: ECG scanning. ECG, electrocardiogram, or EKG are typically measured and recorded in a medical setting, but some smartwatch companies give you those abilities on your wrist- with limitations, of course! Your smartwatch cannot replace your doctors, but smartwatches with ECG capabilities can provide great insight into heart health for those who need to keep an eye on electrical activity in the heart or those who need to be wary of A Fib (Atrial fibrillation).
How do ECGs work on Watches?
An electrocardiogram from a medical professional involves reading and recording the heart’s electrical activity/impulses on a telemetry strip (the steady electrical impulses are necessary for your heart muscles to function correctly!) with twelve leads/the waves you see on the screen. And on ECG smartwatches, one lead/waveform reads the heart’s electrical impulses. So, your smartwatch is taking a smaller snapshot of electrical impulses in the heart.
If you’d like a smartwatch with ECG capabilities, you’ll need one with an ECG sensor (where that one lead is!). The technology requires more than the heart rate sensor to work, and the added EKG/ECG sensor works by pressing a finger on your smartwatch screen.
ECG Smartwatches and the Number 1 Benefit
A-fib, or atrial fibrillation, is a heart arrhythmia or an irregular beating pattern. Irregular, too fast, or too slow heartbeat will affect how the heart muscles work and, therefore, how the blood flows.
Are there symptoms and signs of A fib?
Atrial fibrillation can be asymptomatic or can present with:
- Heart palpitations
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Or all of the above (cdc.com, 2022)
The heartbeat patterns that EKGs pick up are called our sinus rhythm. So even if you are heart-healthy, you can learn a lot about your health from the sinus rhythm readings. And while none of this technology replaces your doctor, the data on your smartphone could be of service to your doctors and nurses. You have several options for smartwatches with ECG apps and capabilities, including watches from top brands like Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung.
Smartwatches with ECG Sensors that are Available Now
- Fitbit Sense and Sense 2
- Fitbit Charge 5
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Apple Watch Series 4-7, but not the SE
- Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch Ultra
From our experience the newer the model the better the functionality. ECG on the Apple Watch 7 is faster and more reliable than what you get on the Apple Watch Series 6. You should expect the same with the Apple Watch Ultra or 8 compared to Apple Wath 7. In the same way Fitbit Sense 2 ECG performs better than ECG on Fitbit Sense (gen 1).
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Last Updated on October 30, 2022
Bernadette has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (where she lives). She has a passion for writing and we like her contribution and style to our blog. Bernadette loves the outdoors and things like hiking, camping, and biking. Wishing she could travel more.
Bernadette is an editor, writer and proofreader for Superwatches. Currently lives in Alberta Canada.