Garmin is rolling out a big update for selected GPS watches today, which adds ECG monitoring to your device's set of health-tracking tools. The ECG app was previously only available for the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, but is now rolling out to three other devices: the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro, Epix Pro (Gen 2), and Venu 3. It's available for all watch sizes, and you can see the full list of compatible devices on Garmin's website.
As Garmin explained on X (formerly Twitter), the app will take a 30-second recording of your pulse and look for signs of an irregular heartbeat, also known as atrial fibrillation. Your Garmin watch isn't a medical device, and can't be used to diagnose or treat a health condition, but any usual readings it picks up could be a useful starting point for a conversation with your doctor. It can't detect signs of a heart attack, blood clots. or stroke.
The app is currently only available in the US, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Hopefully it will be rolled out more widely once it has approval in more territories.
Stop. Sit. Wait. It’s that easy. The ECG app is now available for #epix Pro, #Venu 3 and #fenix 7 Pro smartwatches. Check for signs of AFib with a 30-second recording, and view the results on your watch or in the #GarminConnect app. pic.twitter.com/Hhs7RprVxvOctober 17, 2023
Before you use the app for the first time, make sure you're familiar with Garmin's guidelines. The app isn't designed to be used by anyone under 22 years of age, and shouldn't be used while you're working out or the watch is underwater. It also shouldn't be used near strong electromagnetic fields, or outside the safe temperature and humidity range of your watch (which you can find in its manual on Garmin's support website).
To use it, adjust your watch so that it's snug but comfortable, open the app, and follow the instructions on the screen. Rest your watch arm on a table, then place the thumb and forefinger of your other hand on the watch's bezel to begin recording. The process will take 30 seconds, and once it's done, the results will appear on the watch's screen.
There are three possible results: sinus rhythm (a normal heart rhythm), heart rate too high or too low (meaning your heart rate is outside the boundaries within whcih the ECG app operates), inconclusive (which means you might have moved too much during the reading or your watch is too lose), and atrial fibrillation (an irregular rhythm).
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.