From today The Garmin Venu 2 Plus can take an electrocardiogram (ECG). The ECG section has also briefly appeared in the iOS version of Garmin Connect for owners of the Fenix 7 and Epix 2.
ECG measurements with a smartwatch can provide important information about a person’s heart health. An ECG records the electrical activity of the heart, which can reveal problems with the heart’s rhythm or structure. Some smartwatches with ECG capabilities can detect abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation (AFib), a major cause of stroke. As a result, these types of devices can be used to aid in the early detection of potential health issues.
Much has already been written about Garmin ECG functionality. It’s not as if the company has done a particularly great job at keeping things under wraps.
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It all started off with a medical study that used a Garmin watch to measure ECG and look for Afib. Then, an early firmware update enabled users to perform a basic ECG. More information on the functionality followed, including FDA approval for a Garmin ECG app.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus can take ECG measurements from today
The Venu 2 Plus watch is the first Garmin device that can take ECG measurements. As of today, that is.
If you have this device, make sure you are on the latest version of Garmin Connect Mobile (4.62) and the Venu 2 Plus firmware (11.21). The final requirement is that you are in the US. Presumably the company is still waiting for approval from regulatory authorities in other countries for the feature.
To take a measurement, simply open the ECG app on your Venu 2 Plus and touch the bezel with your other hand’s fingers. Then it’s a matter of waiting for 30 seconds for the reading to complete.
The watch will detect and classify atrial fibrillation or let you know if you have a normal sinus rhythm. The 6 page instruction for use says the feature cannot be used to check for signs of a heart attack, blood clots, stroke and other heart conditions. In the smartphone app you can view your results in more detail, and the software has the option to export the report so that you can send the PDF to your doctor.
Interestingly, a few owners of other Garmin watches saw the ECG section in version 4.62.2 of the app over the weekend. Garmin customises each user’s smartphone display depending on the device they own. Owners of Epix 2 and Fenix 7 reported on Reddit and Garmin forums that they noticed the new ECG section. As well as one person with a Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE.
In addition, under Settings, there was a “UDI for Medical Device Software” entry. Presumably this is the Unique Device Identifier for the ECG.
Garmin quickly recognised that the pre-release version had entered the app by mistake. The ECG section on these watches is removed in version 4.62.3.
Not clear which Garmin watches will get ECG
It will be interesting to see which Garmin watches beyond Venu 2 Plus get ECG support. DC Rainmaker speculates that no other current Garmin watches will get ECG, as the Venu 2 Plus is the only timepiece with a metal strip around the sensor. Garmin has not said anything yet.
The function requires hardware that can measure voltage, such as metal bezels or a metal button as one contact point and a metal back. So it’s not just a matter of whether or not the watch has the most recent sensors, such as Elevate 4 heart rate. Of course, Garmin’s usual shenanigans regarding which watches get certain features may also play a role.
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