Samsung has quietly started rolling out a new feature for its Galaxy Watch that allows for the detection of irregular heart rhythms.
Irregular heart rhythms, medically known as arrhythmias, can be indicative of several heart conditions, some of which can be severe or even life-threatening. Early detection is key, as it enables timely medical intervention and can significantly improve the outcome.
Traditional detection methods, such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), typically require a visit to a healthcare facility. If you have a home ECG device, you can take these types of measurements yourself. However, smartwatches are changing the game by providing continuous heart rhythm monitoring right on the wearer’s wrist. This is done in the background so the user doesn’t need to initiate a reading.
Update to Samsung Health Monitor
A few users on Reddit have spotted that Samsung’s Galaxy Watch now includes an update to its Health Monitor that quietly checks the wearer’s heart rhythm. This is version 1.2.1.009 of the software in case you were wondering.
This feature is tucked away in the ECG part of the app, under the last reading. It displays the time of the most recent Afib check, but not a graph. If an irregularity is detected, the user can view it in the “Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications” section. You do need to switch the functionality on in the app, though, in order for it to work.
The accompanying text states that the watch on your wrist will assess your measurements at regular intervals throught the day. If you get a Afib warning, it is suggested that you take an ECG to confirm the findings.
While Samsung is making strides with its new feature, it’s worth noting that other brands have also recognized the importance of heart rhythm monitoring. For instance, Apple Watch has an FDA-cleared ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature. Fitbit is another brands that includes an ECG app for some of its devices that can detect atrial fibrillation.
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Users with Galaxy Watch 4 and above in several countries, including the US, have started noticing the new feature. It doesn’t seem to be in Beta so you don’t need to be enrolled in the Beta program in order to see it. As always with these types of updates, this is a phased rollout.
The timing of this release is interesting. The feature comes just in time for the company’s big event. On July 26th we are expecting the next generation of Samsung’s flagship smartwatch. There is also a remote possibility we might its its debut in the smart ring space.
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