Your Garmin watch is getting a game-changing health update

Woman checking GPS sports watch
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin has received approval from the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) to launch its ECG app in the US. That means it could start arriving on compatible devices any time via a software update.

The anonymous author of the5krunner has posted a screengrab from the FDA's website showing a premarket notification for the app, demonstrating that it has gone through the approval process.

We don't know exactly which Garmin watches have the necessary hardware for ECG hardware, but we can be pretty certain about one: the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which launched in January last year. While digging through that watch's settings, DC Rainmaker discovered a diagnostics app for an ECG sensor suggesting that although it wasn't useable at the time, everything was there within the watch's housing and just waiting to be unlocked.

According to leaked documents, it sounds as though the sensor works using the metal bezel of your watch, which rules out devices in the Instinct and Forerunner series, which have resin cases and bezels. However, it could include the Fenix 7, Enduro 2, and Epix (check our our guide to the best Garmin watches for more details of the current lineup).

ECG functionality is likely to roll out in stages, as Garmin will need approval from authorities in each country where its watches are sold, so if you live in a different part of the world then you may need to wait a little longer.

Finger on the pulse

ECG functionality has been a long time coming for Garmin. Back in 2021, the company launched a clinical trial for its app to determine whether it could accurately differentiate between atrial fibrillation and a normal sinus rhythm. The results were impressive, and the results from the app matched a doctor's interpretation of the same data measured using a gold standard 12-lead ECG.

It's worth bearing in mind, however, that Garmin watches won't be able to diagnose any medical condition. Instead, they can detect a potential problem that you might choose to have investigated by your doctor,

We're keeping our ears to the ground for more news, and will bring you more details of a potential launch date for the app and compatible watch models as soon as we have them.

Cat Ellis

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.