Apple released watchOS 5.1.2 on Thursday. The update enabled the Apple Watch Series 4’s much-anticipated ECG feature, which performs a single-wire electrocardiogram. While most users are trying out the new feature and are seeing a reassuring “sinus rhythm” result, at least one user received a rather unsettling warning.
As users are getting their Apple Watches updated, one user on Reddit found an unexpected result after taking their ECG: it came back with A-fib (atrial fibrillation). Naturally, as Apple even states themselves, the Apple Watch can return false-positives at times. So he tried “again and again and again”, and it still returned A-fib.
The user then put the Apple Watch on his wife’s wrist and ran the ECG app multiple times. Each time the app returned a “Normal Sinus Rhythm” result. The user then tried the Watch on his other wrist, and once again he received an A-fib result.
Justifiably concerned, the man visited a nearby walk-in clinic, where he informed them of the results from the Apple Watch. To his surprise, he was immediately taken to an exam room, despite a full waiting room at the clinic.
Clinic personnel performed a full ECG on the man, and it also indicated that his heart was in A-fib. The attending physician at the clinic told him, “This probably saved you. I read about this last night and thought we would see an upswing this week. I didn’t expect it first thing this morning.”
The Watch owner was last seen headed to an appointment with a cardiologist.
While this story has a rather unsettling beginning, at least the Apple Watch has likely alerted the man before his A-fib condition became serious enough to seriously affect his health.
As an A-fib patient whose condition had advanced to a point where I needed a pacemaker, I wish I’d had a tool like the Apple Watch Series 4’s ECG feature a few years back. If I had, I might have been able to avoid requiring a pacemaker, along with the extended recovery time.
If your Apple Watch returns an A-fib result following repeated tests, high-tail it to your nearest physician immediately. Heart failure is not something you can ignore. The earlier you receive treatment for the condition, the less impact it will have on your health.