Apple Says watchOS 5.1.2 Coming Today With ECG App Enabled on Apple Watch Series 4

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has announced that watchOS 5.1.2 will be publicly released today and will enable the long-awaited ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 models in the United States. The update will also enable irregular heart rhythm notifications on Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, and Series 4 models.


watchOS 5.1.2 should be available through the Apple Watch app on a paired iPhone around 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time as usual.

Apple's COO and Apple Watch team head Jeff Williams:
Apple Watch has helped so many people around the world and we are humbled that it has become such an important part of our customers' lives. With the release of these heart features, Apple Watch takes the next step in empowering people with more information about their health.
Last week, MacRumors was first to report that watchOS 5.1.2 will enable the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 models, based on an internal Apple Store training document. ECG data will be available in the Health app and exportable via PDF on an iPhone 5s or newer, after updating to iOS 12.1.1 released yesterday.

watchOS 5.1.2 will feature an Apple-designed ECG app that can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, a serious form of irregular heart rhythm, or a normal sinus rhythm. This is possible thanks to new electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Series 4 models.

Apple Watch Series 4 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram, according to the FDA. Both the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications are regulated features that have received De Novo classification from the FDA, making them available over the counter.

The ECG app will check heart rhythm every few hours or so, and if there are five consecutive readings that appear to be abnormal, the Apple Watch will alert the user to see a doctor. As for notifications, users will be alerted if an irregular heart rhythm is detected on five checks over a minimum of 65 minutes.

Importantly, in an internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple cautioned that the ECG app is "not intended to be a diagnostic device or to replace traditional methods of diagnosis," and "should not be used to monitor or track disease state or change medication without first talking to a doctor."

To take an ECG reading from the Apple Watch, users will need to place a finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the watch. The reading is completed in 30 seconds, allowing users to determine whether their hearts are beating in a regular pattern or if there are signs of atrial fibrillation.

Apple says the ECG app's accuracy was validated in a clinical trial of around 600 participants in the United States:
Rhythm classification from a gold standard 12-lead ECG by a cardiologist was compared to the rhythm classification of a simultaneously collected ECG from the ECG app. The study found the ECG app on Apple Watch demonstrated 98.3 percent sensitivity in classifying AFib and 99.6 percent specificity in classifying sinus rhythm in classifiable recordings. In the study, 87.8 percent of recordings could be classified by the ECG app.
Apple is making good on its promise of making the ECG app available by year's end. watchOS 5.1.2 has been in beta testing since November 7, but the ECG app was nowhere to be found during the pre-release period.

Apple says the setup process for these heart health features will include details about who can use the features, what the features can and cannot do, what results users may get and how to interpret them, and instructions for what to do if users are feeling symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

Article Link: Apple Says watchOS 5.1.2 Coming Today With ECG App Enabled on Apple Watch Series 4
 
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thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
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I’m infinitely curious how well or not well this works, since Apple software quality control (in general not just the watch) has taken a serious nosedive in the past several years

5.1 bricked watches! 5.1.1 fixed it supposedly, and now 5.1.2 will be in control of your ECG monitoring. That’s quite the progression
 

thasan

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2007
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so, do i have to permanently (until it comes to UK/EU) move my AppleID to US to make ECG work properly?
 

bluespider

macrumors 6502
May 12, 2009
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I know that ecg feature is S4 only but will the release be only for that watch or are there other fixes etc for older watches? worth updating I guess is my question...
 

SteveOfTheStow

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Jan 24, 2018
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I know that ecg feature is S4 only but will the release be only for that watch or are there other fixes etc for older watches? worth updating I guess is my question...
There'll likely be security updates; they updated tvOS after all, and that never has new features. So every supported Watch should get it.
 
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tromboneaholic

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Jun 9, 2004
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And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again, despite vehemently demanding it every day for the past 2 months.
Irregular heart rhythm notifications will also be enabled in watchOS 5.1.2 on Series 1 through Series 4.

Hopefully less than 1% of users need this feature as well, but it will be a passive feature that doesn't require anything besides wearing the watch.
 
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Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
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Perhaps there will be some built in reminder for all watch owners to check this every now and again, just to be sure, so stop people just using it a few times in the 1st week and forgetting about it.

You need people to use this, on a regular basis, be it weekly, monthly, 6 monthly, or yearly so it will pick up any changes in the body.
 
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kevingaffney

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Aug 17, 2008
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so, do i have to permanently (until it comes to UK/EU) move my AppleID to US to make ECG work properly?
Also curious about this. Im not very tech savy but have afib so anxious to have the ecg capability. As others have said, Im in Ireland and cant even buy a homepod yet so will need a workaround to get the ecg
 
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Moakesy

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Mar 1, 2013
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And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again.
If someone falls into a low risk category, then I'm pretty sure on 99% of that demographic will not check that frequently. But if you have a known issue, or fall into a higher risk category then more people will use it.

I've recently turned 50, have no known heart issues, keep myself very fit but still fully plan to use this feature regularly once it's available.

Why? Because I know two of the members of the Triathlon club I'm member of who have died of heart attach in their mid-50's. Both super fit men who did IronMan events, but didn't realise they had underlying health issues.
 

centauratlas

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
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Finally. It will be interesting to see how well this works in practice and I hope that Apple and partners continue to use the Apple Watch for more advanced heart studies now. While I don't think I have any issues, it is worthwhile to join these studies (a) in case you do and don't know it and (b) to provide additional data points. Even if the study asks you to do the ECG once a day to submit the data, it could provide a lot of valuable insights.
 

shinkansenwarrior

macrumors member
Sep 29, 2015
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Tokyo
Getting better with each generation. Wonder what Watch S5 will bring along. I hope Apple also work on Sp02 meters /pulse oximeters. This would be great to have all bundled into one device along with ECG capability. I would open my wallet then! The watch has great potential to do more!
 
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jardinager

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Apr 24, 2015
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And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again, despite vehemently demanding it every day for the past 2 months.
Well, the series 4 has been out since September. Apple sold the watch with this as a feature. It’s past time for them to make good on it.
 
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