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The Apple Watch ECG is a gimmick for most people, says cardiologists



If you've ever wondered whether upgrading to Apple Watch ECG functionality might justify upgrading to Series 4, cardiologists probably don't …

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CNET consulted several cardiologists, who said that there is little overlap between Apple Watch owners and candidates for AFib.

Sales surveys from the NPD group show that adults aged 18 to 34 buy smart watches more than any other age demographics. And EMarketer predicted that consumers aged 25 to 34 would still be the largest group to buy wearables.

Contrast that CDC estimates that AFib affects somewhere between 2.7 million and 6.1 million Americans, but the majority of these people are over 65 years of age. In fact, only around 2% of people younger than 65 have AFib, and it is estimated that only 1% of the population may have diagnosed AFib. In the latter two groups, AFib episodes are often short, cause no symptoms and may not require treatment.

This is to say that if you are young, healthy and do not already have any diagnosed health problems, you may not experience significant benefits from the ECG app, or other clock heart rate functions

In fact, as previously suggested, the function can cause unnecessary concern.

Venkatesh Murthy, MD, professor of preventive cardiology at the University of Michigan estimates that 90 percent of irregular rhythm alerts in younger groups are false alarms.

As a result, experts worry that putting Apple's screening technology on the wrists of millions of people who are likely to be young and healthy can increase the risk. of over-treatment.

None of this is to say that the function is completely meaningless. Rarely, as AFib may be among the Apple Watch demographic in percentage terms, a small percentage of a large demographic still provides a significant number of cases.

And while the Apple Watch ECG feature may be of limited value to the general population, it may have the potential to be a valuable tool for those already diagnosed with AFib.

If you have already been diagnosed with AFib or have experienced long periods of heart palpitations or a heartbeat, talk to your doctor about home monitoring is right for you. Currently, both Murthy and Pearson continue to recommend that their patients receive an Apple Watch solely for its irregular heartbeat functions.

"I generally recommend devices that can record continuous ECG over an extended period of time instead of the periodic snapshot of the Apple Watch," Murthy says. "That said, future data can help us determine if it is necessary or whether intermittent ECGs combined with photoplethysmography-based rhythm monitoring [like what the Apple Watch does] are adequate."

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