Fitbit’s irregular heartbeat notifications are already rolling out in the US, but which of its plethora of wearables are supported?
After receiving clearance from the United States Food and Drug Administration in early April 2022, Fitbit has started rolling out an update that brings a new feature called Irregular Heartbeat Notifications to certain devices. The feature tells users when they have an irregular heartbeat or signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). A heart rate sensor is a common feature of wearable devices, but most devices can only measure heart rate.
Considering how vital arterial health is, some manufacturers have started adding more advanced heart tracking features to their smartwatches and fitness trackers, allowing users to get more details about their heart. However, the approach varies from brand to brand or even models of the same brand. For some it’s by adding an ECG sensor, while others have added an additional PPG sensor, as is the case with the TicWatch GTH. Additionally, some use a combination of hardware and software algorithms.
Irregular heartbeat notifications provide owners of select Fitbit wearables with a vital health metric derived from their heart rate data. Unlike other wearables that have an ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor to detect AFib, Google (read Fitbit) has developed an algorithm that works with the PPG (photoplethysmography) sensor on these wearables to detect if there is a problem with their heart. This is an important development because owners of the supported portable devices do not have to purchase a new device to take advantage of AFib detection. The update is rolling out in the US and, according to 9to5Googleit will only be available in the region.
Smartwatches and fitness trackers are supported
the the update brings the functionality Fitbit Sense, Versa 3, Versa 2 and Versa Lite smartwatches. It’s also available for the Fitbit Charge 5, Charge 4, Charge 3, Inspire 2, and Luxe fitness trackers. Predictably, the feature is also coming to wearable devices that already have an ECG sensor, such as the Sense and Charge 5. This means that owners of these devices will have two ways to detect AFib – via the ECG app, which provides on-demand assessment, and via the new irregular heartbeat notifications, which work when you’re sleeping or sitting still.
Fitbit clarified that these devices do not receive updates, but the Fitbit app itself receives the changes that enable the feature. Additional details provided by Fitbit include how it works. The manufacturer claims that the wearable devices will collect heart rate data, and after collecting enough of it, “the PPG detection algorithm will analyze the data to look for signs of atrial fibrillation.“Users need to sync their heart rate data to the app, which will then show notifications about atrial fibrillation. Also, the atrial fibrillation detection notification will advise the user to make an appointment with their doctor.
NEXT: Garmin’s Vivosmart 5 lasts up to 7 days and you can switch bands
Doctor Strange 2 Footage Massively Expands the Scope and Impact of the Multiverse