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Learn more about the Apple Watch Series 4 ECG sensor

At this point, nothing new for anyone that Apple changed the focus of its Watch midway. Initially positioned as a fashion accessory, focused on style and luxury (including the infamous gold edition that cost R $ 135,000), Ma soon saw that the strategy was not catching on and quickly turned the ship's course, making a reconstruction of the watch as your faithful partner for health and well-being.

Several advances in this regard have been made over the past few years: the Apple Watch gained its own GPS and, later, an LTE connection for greater independence from the iPhone; new types of exercises and body monitoring were being added; the ecosystem of apps and accessories for the watch grew, with the encouragement of Apple itself. Now, Ma has introduced a feature that is possibly the biggest step in putting your wearable as a health center on each user's wrist: a electrocardiogram.

Present in the new Apple Watch Series 4, the ECG feature provided by two electrodes, one at the bottom of the watch case, in contact with your wrist, and the other positioned on the Digital Crown. By activating the reading and placing your finger on the rotating piece, a closed circuit is created that is capable of, in a mere 30 seconds, reading the rhythm of your heart and detecting possible anomalies, such as the spoken word atrial fibrillation It is a type of cardiac arrhythmia that can predict serious problems, such as a stroke.

This is the general description announced with pomp and circumstance by Apple yesterday, but there are more details that need to be put on the table, here. First of all: yes, the technology is fantastic and has the potential to save many lives, but not contrary to what Ma announced, the Apple Watch Series 4 is not the first device sold directly to the consumer with the ability to perform an ECG in the user. We have commented a few times here on the KardiaBand, AliveCor bracelet precisely for the Watch that has been offering this capability for some time.

In addition, care must be taken with the information, released by Apple, that the Watch's ECG feature is already released by FDA (Food and Drug Administration, ?Anvisa americana?). You see: it will be released differently from being approved, and the agency's endorsement refers only to the fact that it is giving the green light for the Apple to sell the watch with the tool in American territory and that the ECG tests on the Watch no It will hurt no one or bring losses to users.

Despite this, the FDA has not carried out any more in-depth tests with the watch and therefore cannot approve it in the sense that its results are reliable enough to replace a medical consultation. In a document sent to Apple (PDF), the agency also adds that the ECG of the Apple Watch can only be taken with people in complete rest and is not recommended for users under 22, as there are no tests with this type of public.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) feature on Apple Watch Series 4

Most importantly: people who already have atrial fibrillation or other types of cardiac arrhythmia should not use the feature, as it is not a medical tool and its results are not constant (ie, the user must actively start the test to obtain their measurements), can bring false negatives that make patients ignore possible symptoms or other signs of problems seen. Overall, the FDA classifies the Watch ECG as an ?informational? resource that can help users detect a condition that has hitherto been unknown, but is not a substitute for routine medical follow-up or specific examinations.

Finally, keep in mind that the Apple Watch Series 4 ECG at the be available in its launch; Ma claims that the feature will be made available "later this year", but only in the US do Ma's international sites even mention the functionality. This happens, of course, because the company needs to obtain the release of the public health regulatory agency of each country, as it has already done with the FDA in its native land (and having to do with Anvisa, here in Brazil).

We hope that the expansion will be quick: even if the electrocardiogram of the watch does not replace the need for a consultation with professional equipment, its very existence (along with the arrival of other resources, such as the detection of falls) already means a considerable advance for the Apple. Watch as the health center that Ma has planned it to be and the functionality can, as we have said, in fact save lives. So let the ECG come on your wrist!

via TechCrunch, MacRumors, Cult of Mac