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With every new Apple Watch being released, a new update follows it. In some cases, the update is also available to previous Apple Watch models. One of the Apple Watch updates is the ECG – Electrocardiogram. This feature serves as a watchdog for our health. So when buying an Apple Watch, you may wish to know which model has an EKG. This article will give answers to that question. Keep reading to know more.

Which Apple Watch has EKG?

The Apple Watch Series 4 and later models have the EKG (or ECG) app and an electrical heart rate sensor that allows you to take an EKG reading. In essence, you won't get access to the EKG if you use earlier models of the Apple Watch before Apple Watch Series 4.

What is an EKG?

An EKG, also known as ECG, is short for electrocardiogram. This is a test that records the strength and timing of the heartbeat obtained in the form of electrical signals. Through ECG, a doctor can see your heart's rhythm and know if it is beating irregularly.

How to use an ECG app on an Apple Watch

To use an ECG on an Apple Watch, you must first ensure that the ECG app is available in your country. Then, update your Apple Watch and iPhone to the latest operating system. Once your device is updated, and the ECG app is available in your country, the next step is installing and setting up the app.

Can you take pictures with your Apple Watch?
No, you can’t take pictures with an Apple watch. Apple watches aren’t made with cameras. However, Apple designed the Apple watch in a way that you can see the picture your iPhone is about to take on your Apple watch.

How to install and set up the ECG app

You install the ECG app while setting up the ECG in the Health app. Check out the steps below to set up the ECG app:

  • Go to your iPhone and open the Health app.
  • An onscreen prompt will guide you on the steps to take.
  • If you don't see the onscreen prompt, tap the Browse tab and select heart.
  • Tap Electrocardiogram (ECG), then click on Set Up ECG App.
  • Right After the setup is complete, you can open the ECG app to take an ECG reading.

What to do if you don't see the ECG app on your Apple Watch

If, after setting up the ECG app on your iPhone and you don't see it on your Apple Watch, go to the watch app on your iPhone and click on heart. Go to the ECG section and select install the ECG app.

Note: People under the age of 22 cannot use the EKG app.

How does the ECG on an Apple Watch work?

The ECG uses the electrical heart sensor on your Apple Watch (from Apple Watch Series 4 to Apple Watch ultra) to record your heartbeat and rhythm.

The ECG app on the Apple Watch records an electrocardiogram as your heart beats. The electrocardiogram is the electrical pulse obtained from a beating heart. The ECG will use your pulse to determine your heart rate and see if your heart's lower and upper chambers are in rhythm. If they are not in rhythm, you might have Atrial Fibrillation (Afib).

This is similar to the 12 lead ECG in a hospital that records the heart signal from different angles, which will produce twelve different waveforms. Instead of the 12 different waveforms the 12 lead ECG produce, the Apple Watch measures just one similar them. The single reading that the ECG on an Apple Watch reads can provide enough information about the rhythm and heartbeat of a person. It can also determine if the person likely has an Afib if the heartbeat is not in rhythm.

How to take an ECG on an Apple Watch

With an Apple Watch, you can take an ECG reading anytime if you feel concerned about your heart health or when you are notified of an irregular heart rhythm. Ensure that your Apple Watch is firmly wrapped around your wrist. Then, carry out the following actions:

  • Go to your Apple Watch and open the ECG app.
  • Keep your arms on a table or a flat surface and ensure it's at rest.
  • Use your other hand to hold the Digital crown.
  • Once the session starts, you can remove your hand from the Digital crown.
  • The ECG reading takes 30 seconds. After the reading, you will get a breakdown.
  • Click on Add symptoms and select your symptoms.
  • Note any symptoms and click on Save.
  • Tap Done to end the session.

How to read ECG results on the Apple Watch

After the ECG reading, you will receive one of the results listed below on the ECG app:

Sinus rhythm

When you get a sinus rhythm after an ECG session, it means the rhythm of your heartbeat is uniform (i.e., between 50 and 100 BPM). This means that both your lower and upper chamber heartbeats are in sync. If you get a sinus rhythm result, you should understand that it applies to that particular moment the ECG reading was taken. Your heartbeat pattern may not be in sync at all times.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation – Afib means that your heartbeat is irregular. An Afib is noticed when the rhythm of your heartbeat is between 50 and 120 BPM on the ECG app version 1. For the ECG app version 2, you should watch out for a reading between 50 and 150 BPM. If you get an Afib rhythm and you haven't been diagnosed with Afib, you should see your doctor for a proper check.

High or Low heart rate

A high or low heart rate can make it hard for the ECG reading to notice an Afib. In ECG version 1, a high heart rate is considered to be above 120 BPM, and a low heart is below 50 BPM. If you are using the ECG version 2, a high heart is considered to be above 150 BPM, and a low heart rate is below 50 BPM.

Inconclusive reading

After an ECG session, getting an inconclusive reading means that your heart result can't be classified. It might be a result of one of these reasons;

  • You don't have an Afib result, but your heart rate is between 100 and 120 BPM in ECG version 1.
  • You have an implantation Cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or a pacemaker.
  • The result may show a different heart condition foreign to the app.
  • Some health conditions may prevent the ECG from getting enough signals for a good heart reading.
  • You can also get an inconclusive reading in ECG version one if your arms are not resting on a surface or you are not wearing the Apple Watch properly.

Poor Recording

Poor recording result shows only in ECG version 2. This means there is no classified result. There are a few things that can make you get a poor recording result:

  • Your hands are not stable on a table or surface. Try to relax your arm and don't move too much.
  • Your Apple Watch is loose on your wrist. Ensure the band is snug and tight and the back of your Apple Watch is touching your wrist.
  • You can get a poor reading if your Apple Watch is wet and sweaty. Keep it dry.
  • Your Apple Watch should be on the wrist you selected.
  • Stay far from other active electronic devices.

Note: Irrespective of the result after the ECG reading, talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any odd symptoms in your health.

What causes a high or low heart rate?

High or low heart rates can result from stress, exercise, nervousness, fear, alcohol, infection, or arrhythmia.

You can have a low heart rate due to some medications you are taking or if the ECG is not conducted correctly. You can also have a low heart rate if you train to be an elite athlete.

How to view and share your ECG Health information

After having a successful ECG reading, the symptoms will be noted and saved in the Health app on your iPhone. This can be shared with your doctor as a PDF.

  • Go to the Health app on your iPhone.
  • Click on the browser tab, then tap on heart.
  • Select Electrocardiograms (ECG).
  • Click on the chart to see your ECG result.
  • Select export a PDF for Your Doctor.
  • Click the share button to share or print as a PDF.
Can you FaceTime on your Apple Watch
Yes, you can FaceTime on your Apple Watch. However, you can only access FaceTime audio when making calls on an Apple Watch using wifi or a cell service network.

Frequently Asked Questions on which Apple Watch has an EKG

Q. Should I take an ECG reading with my Apple Watch?

A. Yes, it is advisable to take an ECG reading with your Apple Watch. This will offer you a better insight into your heart health. With this, you won't have to go to the hospital always for ECG readings. However, you should still see your doctor if something is amiss.

Q. Is the ECG on an Apple Watch accurate?

A. According to Apple Support, the ECG reading is demonstrated to be 99.6% when a sinus rhythm is given and 98.3% when you get an Afib result. Overall, the Apple Watch ECG app is accurate but not 100%, as explained.

Wrap up

Having a device that you wear with you always that checks your heart rate no matter where you are is amazing. This is what Apple Watch Series 4 or newer models offer you.

If you have any questions about this article, kindly leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.

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