Samsung got US FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram (EKG) monitoring app in August, but today the functionality is finally rolling out to the company’s latest smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3, as well as the Galaxy Active 2 from late 2019.
Previously limited to South Korea, the app now lets users in the US monitor their heart rhythm for irregularities and check for atrial fibrillation (Afib). You’ll be able to use it yourself in the “ECG Monitor” app, where Samsung says readings will be accessible through the Health Monitor app when your watch is connected to a Samsung Galaxy-branded phone. Samsung notes that it’s not intended for use by people under 22 years old.
To take a reading in the app, the smartwatch will ask you to first make sure that it’s fastened snugly to your wrist, then you hold a finger to the hardware button near where 2 o’clock would be on its watchface. As can be seen in the photo below, the app makes it clear that it isn’t checking for heart attacks, so don’t rely on the app if you feel like your life is at risk.
In addition to the ability to take an EKG, the Galaxy Watch 3’s blood oxygen monitoring feature has arrived. The smartwatch already has the necessary sensor to track oxygen saturation in the blood. Samsung says the feature “can help users get a sense of how well their respiratory system is transferring oxygen into the bloodstream for fitness or other general wellness purposes.”
Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 join the small but growing list of smartwatches with an EKG function. Apple got it first in 2018 with its Apple Watch Series 4 (each flagship model since has had the feature), and just last week, Fitbit’s Sense got FDA clearance for its EKG app.