ECG – Now available on Garmin Epix Pro and Fenix 7 Pro

NPE heartbeatz – broadcast Apple Watch HR

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro and Epix Pro get ECG

Owners of new, high-end Garmin watches with the very latest Elevate v5 optical heart rate sensor may have been wondering when its promised ECG feature would be activated. Well, it’s now.

The ECG feature was originally scoped out with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus but as of today, you can access it on your Garmin Fenix 7 Pro, Garmin Epix Pro, Garmin Tactix 7 AMOLED (TBC), or Garmin Venu 3 series.

how to get Garmin ECG on your watch from outside of the USA

What Does the Garmin ECG Feature Do?

The abbreviations ECG and EKG are sometimes used interchangeably and stand for electrocardiogram. Whatever you wish to call it, the deliverable to you is a detailed track of each heartbeat and Garmin records that over a 30-second period.

Image|Wikipedia, ECG trace of one heartbeat

You can take a PDF chart of the test to your doctor if atrial fibrillation (Afib) has been detected or you can rest assured that everything is probably OK if you are determined to have a normal sinus rhythm.

However, let’s take a quick step back as that’s not quite right.

Garmin and other industry players like Apple, Google and Samsung can only provide you with a 1-Lead ECG, whereas a proper ECG test in a hospital will use 12 leads. The difference here is that a watch will only create one electrical circuit whereas more sophisticated ECGs have several electrical circuits to determine a more complete picture and a normal sinus rhythm is normally only determined by a 12-lead ECG.

 

 

Image|Wikipedia, 12-lead ECG positioning

 

However, don’t panic! Watches that have passed FDA certification, like Garmin, are classed as medical devices and have passed a rigorous certification process.

Garmin will enable this feature on a country-by-country basis only when it passes the legal requirements for ECG in those countries. As of today, you’re good to go in the USA.

What’s Next for Garmin?

ECG is a sought-after feature by customers, however, the accreditation process is far from straightforward. Garmin will probably push for certification in key geographic markets outside of the USA like the UK and EU but residents in some other countries may never get the feature.

With new Garmin watches in the future, many or most will also have the ECG-capable Elevate v5 sensor. However, that is no guarantee that a premium feature like ECG will automatically be made available. However, I would have thought it most likely that most new watches with v5 will also have ECG in countries that authorize it.

But then what will happen in 2025 when Garmin has its next generation of optical HR sensors? Presumably, certification will not automatically pass to newer models but I seem to recall reading that hardware updates have less onerous tests to pass.

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What Does This Mean for Athletes?

The somewhat blase and WRONG view is that “Oh I’m fit and young and my heart is fine”. Many athletes, teenagers included have underlying heart issues.

In the USA it is thought that 800,000 people under the age of 40 have Afib. Cardiac Screening programs may exist in your country, and this one does in the UK.

Older athletes might want to borrow a friend’s Garmin to do the test but it should be noted that the Garmin test requires you to be at least 22 years old.

Just check it out. It’s simple and quick and literally could save your life.

I have

 

 

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10 thoughts on “ECG – Now available on Garmin Epix Pro and Fenix 7 Pro

  1. I’m in Ireland & got it activated by faking location.
    Copied from Garmin forum but edited for conciseness – my watch is Epix Pro 51mm
    Here is the full procedure:

    1) update your watch via Garmin Connect Express or Connect App to get latest firmware (fw 14.68)

    2)On your phone, install “Fake GPS Location” and set it to somewhere in the USA (NewYork). Don’t forget to enable the app in the dev options of Android under “Select Mock Location App”.

    3)(not necessary for me) Install a VPN app like the free “Atlas App” and set it to USA (NewYork).

    4) (not necessary for me) Enable LTE/4g and disable wifi.

    5)Set your location in your Garmin Account (via the website) to USA.
    5.1) Garmin app – more > settings > Profile and Privacy > scroll down to Manage Garmin account and set location to US

    6)Configure and use the ECG for the first time

    6)Reset everything (gps, vpn, account) to your default.

    Voila

  2. As far as I can see there are no native apps for iPhone that can spoof GPS location. There are many that suggest they do it, but either they don’t or they require tethering to a PC and from what I’ve read, none of those are obviously safe. It would be good is someone on the community has tried something that does work and could identify the actual app and process.

      1. Hahaha, hence my question 🙂

        Let’s see most probably we will get it in the upcoming beta cycle, as 14.xx just concluded. Hoping for:
        – Nap detection & sleep coach
        – Wrist temperature with some insights of course
        – Some necessary updates on the Garmin Connect

  3. I notice this feature only includes on-demand EKGs and not 24×7 monitoring, like Apple Watch. Do you know whether the 24×7 part requires a separate regulatory approval and/or whether this functionality might be in the works?

    I recognize Fenixes have already had ‘abnormal’ HR alerts for specified high and low thresholds, but I’m wondering about irregular rhythm detection

  4. Any hints on official release of ECG in Europe? I do not trust the spoofing aps enough to go that route 😉

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