Garmin to get ECG and AFib from ELEVATE 4 – later in 2021?
Currently, Garmin supports abnormal heart rate detection by a method that simply alerts you to sustained periods of high heart rate when you appear to be inactive. This has some usefulness but is an ineffective tool when compared to Garmin’s competition. Indeed Garmin is clearly behind the competition in this important health space. Other competitors’ watches that have EKG/ECG include
- Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Fitbit Sense
- Withings Move ECG
- Amazfit Smartwatch 2
In 2018, Garmin collaborated with the University of Kansas Medical Centre for an AF study. I would assume this study used the previous generation of Garmin Elevate sensor and I would further assume that Elevate Gen 3 plus associated algorithms did not meet the required standard, otherwise, Garmin would have released AF features quite some time ago.
Garmin has recently released their Gen 4 ELEVATE sensor which has so far only been introduced on their Venu 2 and Forerunner 945LTE models. Now there is an active and ongoing Garmin-sponsored validation study to confirm their software algorithms can perform on a clinically equivalent basis to a Lead I ECG/EKG. This study is due to end in July 2021, with the results probably being leveraged soon after.
If the study goes well, we could expect AF/ECG features later this year on the top-end Garmin health & fitness devices, ie both the Vivoactive/Venu and Fenix ranges. Indeed this could perhaps end up as one of the headline features for this year’s Garmin Fenix 7 and Vivoactive 5.
The studies aims are stated thus:
The purpose of the study is to confirm the Garmin ECG (electrocardiogram) software algorithm can detect and classify atrial fibrillation and normal sinus rhythm on single lead ECG data derived from a Garmin wrist-worn, consumer device. The study will also confirm the software’s ability to create a Lead I ECG that is clinically equivalent to a reference device.
Why would I want EKG/ECG or AF Capabilities?
A study showed cardiomyopathy to be the major cause of sudden cardiac death in 8 cases out of a cohort of 11,000 young football players.
Only yesterday, Christian Eriksen (Denmark) collapsed as a result of a cardiac arrest during an International Football Game (bbc.co.uk). Although this is NOT now thought to be AF-related, every top-level footballer will be regularly scanned for heart abnormalities and, in the UK, the Football Association operates a scheme to get young footballers scanned by ECG. Clearly, Garmin and the competition will not be marketing their devices as diagnostic tools but should they throw up readings of concern then you would be wise to immediately seek a full medical evaluation.
via @DH, thank you for the heads up!
Edits from feedback by @Circe, below
Info: Atrial Fibrilation