New Apple Watch features FDA-approved ECG app

The latest Apple Watch will feature an application that allows users to take their own electrocardiogram (ECG) reading.

Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 4 on Wednesday, Sept. 12, during an event in Cupertino, California. The fourth-generation watch is 30 percent larger and has an extended battery life compared to previous models.

It also features a new ECG app—which has received de novo classification from the FDA. According to the company’s website, users will be able to take an ECG reading from their wrist using the app. The app uses electrodes built into the watch’s digital crown and an electrical heart rate sensor.

“With the app, users touch the digital crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications,” Apple’s website said. “All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.”

Additionally, the watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms and alerts a user of any irregularities. It also features an accelerometer and gyroscope which can detect hard falls. If the watch thinks its user has fallen, it will send an alert that can be dismissed or used to call emergency services.

The watch can also automatically check when a user is working out and track exercises and calories burned.

“We’re thrilled Apple Watch has become an essential part of people's lives,” Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said in a statement. “The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of groundbreaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health.”

The Apple Watch Series 4 will be available to order in 26 countries starting Friday, Sept. 14.