- Samsung is enabling ECG monitoring on the Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2.
- Your smartwatch can now check for an irregular heartbeat.
- It’s matching features Apple, Fitbit and others either have or will add soon.
Samsung’s current smartwatches are about to become much more useful for spotting heart issues. As of September 23, Samsung is enabling ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring on the Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Open the new ECG Monitor app on your Galaxy Watch and you can use the feature to check for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). You’ll need to rest your arm on a flat surface and put a finger on the top button for a short while, but this could be the first hint of an irregular heartbeat that warrants a trip to the doctor.
You can send ECG recordings to your healthcare provider along with symptoms, such as dizziness and fatigue, using the Health Monitor app on a supporting Samsung phone.
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ECG on the Galaxy Watch doesn’t provide a definitive verdict. You’re performing the rough equivalent to a single-lead ECG test with limited information — a doctor will typically perform a 12-lead test that can identify other conditions. Samsung warns that the ECG Monitor app can’t spot signs of a heart attack, and you’ll want to seek medical attention if you have symptoms regardless of what your Galaxy Watch says.
Samsung is relatively late to ECG. The Apple Watch had it as of Series 4 in 2018. However, this wasn’t entirely under the tech giant’s control. It needed FDA approval before the feature could be available in the US, and that takes time. Fitbit’s Sense won’t offer ECG until October, for example.
Still, it’s hard to complain. The more smartwatches include ECG, the more likely it is that your wristwear can alert you to an AFib issue you might have otherwise missed. ECG also makes the Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 more appealing in their own right. They’re already fitness tools, but they could also help you get treatment for a heart condition before it becomes an emergency.