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Samsung brings FDA-approved ECG monitoring to the Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 users are about to get access to a major new feature. Samsung has announced that it has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor on some of its smartwatches — meaning that users of those devices can access the ECG Monitor app to check for heart rhythm irregularities, and even find out if they have signs of atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

Samsung isn’t the first to offer this feature — Apple launched the Apple Watch Series 4 with an FDA-approved ECG sensor in 2018. It’s better late than never — especially considering how helpful having access to an ECG sensor can be.

The most obvious use for the ECG sensor is to monitor for signs of AFib, which is a heart irregularity that can, in some cases, lead to a stroke. It’s important to note that the device can only track signs of AFib — and data from the watch should not be taken as a medical diagnosis without the consultation of a cardiologist. But it very well may be the first indication people get and can lead them to visit a medical professional.

Using the ECG Monitor app is very similar to doing so on the Apple Watch. To do so, you’ll need to sit still and rest your arm on a flat surface. You’ll also need to place your finger on the top button. After a few seconds, your watch will classify your heart rhythm as either Sinus Rhythm, which is a normal heartbeat, or AFib. Once the reading is complete, users can also log symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and so on.

The ECG monitor helps make the Galaxy Watch 3 an impressive overall fitness tracker. While Apple beat Samsung to the punch on this particular feature, Samsung did beat Apple on offering a blood oxygen monitor. The two features combined make for a pretty compelling fitness watch experience, and while you won’t get the same tracking or analysis as you get on a dedicated running watch, it’s an excellent option thanks to a great all-around experience.

The Galaxy Watch 3 received pretty stellar reviews when it was first released earlier this year, as did the Galaxy Watch Active 2 when it was released last year. They’re both available for purchase practically anywhere, including Amazon and Samsung’s website.

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