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Apple Working on EKG Heart Monitor for Future Apple Watch Models

Future Apple Watch models could include a sensor that allows for continuous electrocardiograph monitoring to better detect serious heart conditions, reports Bloomberg.

Apple is said to be testing a version of the Apple Watch that records the electrical activity of the heart using two fingers on either side of the device, a test that is known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG. With an EKG, sensors detect electrical changes in the skin caused by the rhythm of your heart beat.

A version being tested requires users to squeeze the frame of the Apple Watch with two fingers from the hand that's not wearing the device, one of the people said. It then passes an imperceptible current across the person's chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates.
EKGs today are most often done in medical offices and hospitals, but there are some continuous-wear EKG monitors on the market for those who need more frequent monitoring. With the ability to detect irregular heart beats and other oddities, the Apple Watch would be able to better predict and monitor serious heart conditions. Such functionality has the potential to allow people to catch and treat heart problems early.

Bloomberg says development is ongoing on the EKG functionality for the Apple Watch, and Apple could still decide to scrap it. With the first Apple Watch, Apple reportedly dropped several sensors because they weren't accurate enough.

Apple has taken a deep interest in heart health in recent months, and in November launched a ResearchKit-based Apple Heart Study app in partnership with Stanford University's School of Medicine. The aim of the study is to determine whether the existing heart rate monitoring functionality of the Apple Watch can accurately detect irregular heart rhythms.

It's not clear if adding EKG functionality to the Apple Watch would require Apple to get FDA approval. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in the past that he doesn't want to get the FDA involved with the Apple Watch, but Apple is participating in a pilot program for faster approval of digital health tools.

Just this past November, the FDA approved the EKG Kardia Band from AliveCor, the first official medical-grade accessory designed for the Apple Watch.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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9 weeks ago
Will it throttle down your heart if it detects that it's running at less than 80% capacity?
Rating: 39 Votes
9 weeks ago

('//www.macrumors.com/2017/12/21/future-apple-watch-ekg-heart-monitor/')


Future Apple Watch models could include a sensor that allows for continuous electrocardiograph monitoring to better detect serious heart conditions, reports Bloomberg ('https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-21/apple-is-said-to-develop-ekg-heart-monitor-for-future-watch').

Apple is said to be testing a version of the Apple Watch that records the electrical activity of the heart using two fingers on either side of the device, a test that is known as an electrocardiogram or EKG/ECG. With an EKG, sensors detect electrical changes in the skin caused by the rhythm of your heart beat.


EKGs today are most often done in medical offices and hospitals, but there are some continuous-wear EKG monitors on the market for those who need more frequent monitoring. With the ability to detect irregular heart beats and other oddities, the Apple Watch would be able to better predict and monitor serious heart conditions. Such functionality has the potential to allow people to catch and treat heart problems early.

Bloomberg says development is ongoing on the EKG functionality for the Apple Watch, and Apple could still decide to scrap it. With the first Apple Watch, Apple reportedly dropped several sensors because they weren't accurate enough.

Apple has taken a deep interest in heart health in recent months, and in November launched a ResearchKit-based Apple Heart Study app ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/11/30/apple-heart-study-app-launches/') in partnership with Stanford University's School of Medicine. The aim of the study is to determine whether the existing heart rate monitoring functionality of the Apple Watch can accurately detect irregular heart rhythms.

It's not clear if adding EKG functionality to the Apple Watch would require Apple to get FDA approval. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in the past that he doesn't want to get the FDA involved with the Apple Watch, but Apple is participating in a pilot program for faster approval of digital health tools ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/09/26/apple-fda-pilot-program-digital-health-tools/').

Just this past November, the FDA approved the EKG Kardia Band ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/11/30/alivecor-kardia-ekg-band-medical-fda-apple-watch/') from AliveCor, the first official medical-grade accessory designed for the Apple Watch.

Article Link: Apple Working on EKG Heart Monitor for Future Apple Watch Models ('//www.macrumors.com/2017/12/21/future-apple-watch-ekg-heart-monitor/')

[doublepost=1513879722][/doublepost]I'm seriously tempted to buy this next one as a medical condition I thought was normal I discovered isn't, and I want to track it and this addition would do precisely that.
[doublepost=1513879755][/doublepost]

Where is that redesign?

The design looks fine to me.
Rating: 14 Votes
9 weeks ago

But three generations of the same design gets old. At the very least they should tweak it.


Don't worry, they'll switch the red color on the crown to blue or jet black or newborn star white or something for a completely new look that will be obvious to all of your friends that you have the latest version.
Rating: 6 Votes
9 weeks ago
This type of upgrade will be what gets me to buy my next watch. Hope they keep working on adding things of this nature.
Rating: 5 Votes
9 weeks ago
Will Apple turn off a few of my heart chambers if the battery in the watch goes below 90% functionality?
Rating: 4 Votes
9 weeks ago

But three generations of the same design gets old. At the very least they should tweak it.


I would prefer that they make it more useful first. The design is ok, and it will be features like health monitoring that entice people to spend $300-600 for what otherwise is a fancy watch. But for people with heart conditions or diabetes, if they get the blood sugar monitoring reliable, then the health benefits would justify that cost or more pretty quickly, ignoring anything else the Watch does.
Rating: 4 Votes
9 weeks ago
Wonder if Apple will slow the ekg readings as the watch battery degrades? :)
Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago

It’s pretty clear that adding an EKG would require FDA approval...
Also, as most users would not have the training to interpret their EKG there would have to be some sort of software analysis. Judging by the expensive hospital ekgs I use, software analysis is very frequently inferior or downright wrong compared to a well trained physician’s interpretation. I’m not saying software couldn’t do it, but it currently isn’t good enough. And I’m not aware of Apple running large trials to leapfrog past the current industry leaders in software based EKG analysis. Perhaps users could pay for a subscription to a remote telemetry service, although even this would result in a huge number of false positives.

Anyways, personally I’d love my Apple Watch to have an ekg (and continuous glucose monitoring). Can’t wait to see what they come up with.


"And I’m not aware of Apple running large trials to leapfrog past the current industry leaders in software based EKG analysis."

I have a relative who is currently a part of such a large Apple trial.
Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago

But three generations of the same design gets old. At the very least they should tweak it.

I thought people were pissed at Apple for a "form over function" approach, yet you are arguing to change the form for purely superficial reasons...
Rating: 3 Votes
9 weeks ago

But three generations of the same design gets old. At the very least they should tweak it.

Eh. 3% design change. I can do without that. It's already to me a much better design than the Android based products out there.
Rating: 3 Votes

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