Apple Watch features that allow users to monitor their heart rate will finally be made available in Australia, over two years since first being introduced.
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has greenlit Electrocardiography (ECG) capabilities in the Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, or Series 6 (not on Apple Watch SE), allowing users to test the timing and strength of the electrical signals that make the heart beat. The app can essentially perform an electrocardiogram to show whether or not the upper and lower chambers of your heart are in rhythm.
Results of an ECG test done by the app are able to be saved and shared to your doctor as a PDF.
“The ECG app is a software-only mobile medical application that is intended to be used with the Apple Watch to create, record, store, transfer and display a single-channel electrocardiogram (ECG) similar to a Lead I ECG,” reads the documentation on the TGA website.
“The ECG app determines the presence of atrial fibrillation (AF) or sinus rhythm on a classifiable waveform.”
The document also points out that users are not to take “clinical action” based on the app’s readings and are to only use it in informational capacity only. Furthermore, the app is not intended to be used by people under the age of 22.
The technology involves LED and light‑sensitive photodiodes that looks at your blood flow in the wrist. Blood is red due to its absorption of green light and reflection of red; green light absorption is greater when the heart beats and less in between beats.
LED lights are flashed hundreds of times per second to provide a calculation of the heart rate.
While approval has been granted, there’s still no word on when the features will hit Apple Watches in Australia. There is speculation that the capabilities will arrive with the watchOS 7.4 update – currently in beta testing.