After a little bit of a delay, Apple yesterday finally released its long-awaited ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4. As the name implies, the new app provides users with a relatively convenient way to take an electrocardiogram on their wrist and, in turn, stay abreast of any irregular heart rhythms that might require a visit to the doctor.
Not even a day since its release, the new ECG app has already helped one Apple Watch wearer avoid a potentially serious health event. In a post published on the Apple Watch subreddit earlier today, an Apple Watch wearer fired up the ECG app out of sheer curiosity. The app subsequently alerted him that he had signs of atrial fibrillation, which is to say his heart beat was irregular. Assuming it was a glitch, he ran the app again, and then again on his wife to make sure it wasn’t recording false positives. Eventually, he decided to seek medical attention.
The post reads in part:
They ask what’s wrong and I’m embarrassed. ‘Ok so there is a new watch feature….hahaha….I’m silly but can we check this?”
I did not know that this comment was a quick queue pass for Patient First. I’m taken right back and hooked up. The technician looks at the screen and says “I’m going to get the doctor”
Doctor comes in, looks at the screen, looks at me and says “You should buy Apple stock. This probably saved you. I read about this last night and thought we would see an upswing this week. I didn’t expect it first thing this morning.”
After further tests confirmed that something was amiss, the Redditor scheduled an appointment to see a cardiologist and was subsequently given blood pressure medication and will have some follow up visits with a specialist.
While some cardiologists are wary of the new app insofar that it may result in a deluge of false positives and otherwise healthy patients showing up at emergency rooms, the story above illustrates that the Apple Watch is far more than just a regular ole’ smartwatch. As we’ve seen a number of times over the past few years, it can very well be used to help save lives.