- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
Five years ago, the FDA granted marketing clearance for the first smart watch capable of capturing the heart's electrical "signature," known as an electrocardiogram or ECG. An app enables the watch to detect atrial fibrillation (afib), the most common heart rhythm disorder (see "What is atrial fibrillation?"). Today, four additional smart watches with similar capabilities have FDA clearance, and more are expected on the market soon.
Because bouts of afib are often short-lived and sometimes symptomless, diagnosing it can be challenging. An annual ECG at your doctor's office, which lasts less than 10 seconds, may not pick up afib if it is occurring only occasionally. And unless you have symptoms, medical devices that check the heart for longer periods of time don't make sense.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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