Fitbit is enhancing the heart health-tracking abilities of its smartwatches by bringing the FibriCheck app to its Ionic and Versa devices, so users can measure their heart rate rhythm and detect health problems like atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The FibriCheck app will use the existing sensors to detect blood flow and is CE marked, which means it meets the performance standards for medical devices in the EU. In 2016, a study was conducted on the app on Fitbit devices that compared it with gold-standard medical 12-lead ECG machines and it was shown to be highly accurate in detecting atrial fibrillation, which means your heartbeat is irregular.
If you were to detect AFib a few times with the app then it would certainly be worth checking in with your doctor. Sometimes AFib can cause no symptoms, so being able to detect it using your watch is undoubtedly useful, since it can lead to a stroke.
You can try the FibriCheck app with a one-day free trial, but it costs £3.99 a month thereafter. Once you take the 60-second test you’re given colour-coded feedback on your results – green is good, red is not good – and you can also get a more detailed report in the FibriCheck app to share with your doctor if you do detect AFib through the tests.
The addition of an equivalent to an ECG measurement to its smartwatches brings Fitbit into line with Apple, which offers an ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is also due to get an ECG feature in the coming months. However, Apple offers this feature natively and for free, and it will be interesting to see if Fitbit users are prepared to pay for FibriCheck, or if they just use the free trial and forget about it if they get a green result.
Fitbit is bringing FibriCheck to the entire Versa range, including the Versa Lite and the new Versa 2, as well as the Ionic. You can download FibriCheck to compatible devices now through the Fitbit app on your smartphone.