The Apple Watch series 4 launched with the world’s first ECG monitor in a smartwatch. However, it wasn’t widely available outside the US since Apple still had to acquire permissions from various countries. Last week, it finally rolled it out to parts of Europe and Hong Kong and, in just the span of a few days, it has already turned a doubter into a believer after saving his life.
It’s not hard to see why some would be skeptical about the Apple Watch’s life-saving potential. ECGs are often done using big, specialized machines and it’s only recently that they have become available in wearable form. While Apple doesn’t exactly bill the Apple Watch 4’s sensor as a stand-in replacement, its ability to detect signs of atrial fibrillation in just 30 seconds is better than not being detected until it’s too late.
That was the exact situation a new Apple Watch 4 owner in Germany found himself in. In an email to a doctor on the country’s FAZ newspaper, the anonymous reader described how he was skeptical of the feature, even going as far as describing it as something for hypochondriacs only. When the Apple Watch indeed alerted him to potential atrial fibrillation, he was still doubtful. Even a physician friend told him the device was in error.
A 12-channel ECG from his real doctor, however, revealed the truth. Not only was the Apple Watch right, it has also helped prolong his life now that his condition is well known. It may be anecdotal but it does add to the growing number of testimonies on how Apple’s smartwatch has become more than just a tech toy or even a fitness tracker.
Unsurprisingly, Apple does have the scientific study to back up these anecdotes. It’s not a replacement for a thorough checkup but considering how some may not even visit a doctor otherwise, the Apple Watch may indeed be saving lives.