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Heart Health

13 September 2018

How the new Apple watch could save your life

The new Apple watch has received an FDA approval for its ECG function.

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On Wednesday, Apple Inc. unveiled their new smart watch called the Apple Watch Series 4.

The device boasts the most significant upgrades since its first launch in 2015.

The new smartwatch has a 30% bigger display screen, a faster dual-core processor, 50% louder speakers and an improved interaction with the Siri digital assistant.

However, the main selling point of the watch is the FDA approved electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor.

High intensity sensors

The watch is equipped with high intensity sensors that are able to detect when a user falls. Should the person not move for more than a minute, an alert is sent and emergency services are contacted immediately.

Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., at the unveiling, called the Apple watch an “intelligent guardian of your health".

The ECG function, with the assistance of the sensors, is able to detect atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat) as well as heart failure.

According to a statement by the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, “The FDA worked closely with the company as they developed and tested these software products, which may help millions of users identify health concerns more quickly."

The price of the watch currently stands at R5 940, and the ECG function will only be available later this year.

Doctors unsure

Doctors are, however, wary about the watch’s capabilities. In an interview with CNBC, Patricia K. Nguyen, assistant professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division at Stanford University, states, "It can be game-changing for heart health – if it is accurate."

She believes that Apple would need to provide various studies to prove that the watch won’t provide high rates of false positives and false negatives before she would recommend it to her patients.

Image credit: iStock