People have reportedly also used the Apple Watch to read rapid heart rates, detecting heart attacks as-they-happen. The Apple Watch’s display shows the reading’s data using a line graph that’s similar to how the Apple Watch shows other heart rate data, and informs the user if their heart rate is normal or abnormal. If the band detects problems, it will advise you to take a more accurate EKG test. According to CEO Vic Gundotra, it’s the first-ever medical accessory for a wearable that’s been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Every week we receive incredible customer letters about how Apple Watch has affected their lives, including learning that they have AFib”, noted Apple COO Jeff Williams, in a press release.
AliveCor is calling the device KardiaBand.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), is the most common heart arrhythmia, and a leading cause of stroke. In September Williams said that Apple worked closely with the FDA in developing the study.
“This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare”, Ronald Karlsberg, MD, FACC, board certified cardiologist, clinical professor of medicine, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, said in a statement.
Sensor-equipped metal contacts on the KardiaBand help collect that medical-grade information within 30 seconds of a wearer placing their fingers on them. It can even email an analysis to your doctor.
In addition, the company launched a new version of the band today in the U.S. with a feature called SmartRhythm. While it did launch with several health features, it looks like the Apple Watch is getting a boost in the health department, thanks to the FDA clearing AliveCor’s “Kardia Band”. The study is open to anyone who wishes to participate – as long as they are at least 22 years of age and they own an Apple Watch Series 1 (not 1st generation) or above. “Any doctor will say “ok come in, lets get an EKG reading”, Gundotra told TechCrunch.
These software features aren’t free, though.
The band starts at $199 and requires a yearly subscription of $99 for the monitoring services, the company said. When the two are out of sync, the device will alert users to capture EKG data. It’s all hidden to the consumer.