Apple released watchOS 5.2 a little over a week ago and for customers with a Series 4 Apple Watch, both the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications are available in 19 European countries; Including the United Kingdom.
Apple gets straight to the point via their Newsroom:
The ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 marks a direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat and helping to provide critical data to physicians.
The ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification feature will help users identify signs of AFib, the most common form of irregular rhythm. When left untreated, AFib is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, the second most common cause of death around the world. The AF Association estimates there are around 1.5 million people in the UK living with atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm problem, but a third of these people may be unaware of this.
To put it another way, if you’re someone with a Series 4 Apple Watch in a supported country you’ve now got a cardiologist on the wrist.
Joe Cieplinski wrote about his experience with the ECG app. Thanks to these new features in his smart watch, Cieplinski discovered he had AFib and was able to seek out the appropriate treatment.
On a personal note, I’m extremely pleased it’s available in the United Kingdom as I have a heart condition. I’ve had a number of portable cardiac event recorders in the past which try to capture my irregular rhythms. These are usually provided for a 24 hour period, but my Apple Watch is always there. I cannot express how much of a huge deal this is.
There’s no denying that the Apple Watch is rather expensive, but Apple tends to keep the previous model around whenever a new revision comes out. There’s every chance the Series 4 could end up retailing for around the £279-299 mark as the Series 3 does currently. In essence, these potentially life saving features could end up in the hands of a lot more people.
If you haven’t enabled this feature, even if you don’t think you’ll ever need it, please open the Health app and spend a couple of minutes to get it going.