Fitbit has made available to its users in South Africa its electrocardiogram (ECG) app to assess heart rhythm for atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The Fitbit ECG App is now available to SA users of the Fitbit Sense.
AFib is a condition that affects more than 33.5-million people globally, and heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide, despite being one of the most preventable conditions. In South Africa, cardiovascular disease is responsible for almost 1 in 6 deaths (17.3%). AFib, an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of serious complications like stroke, can be particularly difficult to detect, as episodes can sometimes show no symptoms. Some studies suggest that as many as 25% of people who have an AFib-related stroke find out they have AFib only after a stroke has occurred.
“Helping people understand and manage their heart health has always been a priority for Fitbit, and our ECG app is designed to empower you to assess for yourself in the moment and review the reading later with your doctor,” said Eric Friedman, co-founder of Fitbit. “Early detection of AFib is critical, and I’m excited that we are making these innovations accessible to people around the world to help them improve their heart health, prevent more serious conditions and potentially save lives.”
Fitbit conducted a multi-site clinical trial in regions across the US to evaluate its algorithm’s abilities. It tested whether it could accurately detect AFib from normal sinus rhythm, and generate an ECG trace, or recording of a heart’s electrical rhythm. The study showed that the algorithm exceeded target performance, demonstrating its ability to detect 98.7% of AFib cases (sensitivity) and was 100% accurate in identifying study participants with normal sinus rhythm (specificity).
Fitbit’s new on-device compatible ECG app helps analyse the heart’s rhythm for signs of AFib. ECG is a measurement of the electrical activity of the heart, and the Fitbit ECG App is a simple way people can take an on-the-spot reading of their heart rhythm at any time, including whenever they notice any unusual cardiac symptoms.
Fitbit Sense is the company’s most advanced health smartwatch, with the world’s first electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor on a smartwatch to help manage stress, and an on-wrist skin temperature sensor, powered by 6+ days of battery life. Sense is Fitbit’s first device compatible with an ECG app that enables users to take a spot check reading of their heart. Users hold their fingers to the stainless-steel ring on the watch while being still for 30 seconds to get a reading that can be downloaded and shared with a doctor.
Broader Commitment to Heart Health
The new ECG app is part of Fitbit’s broader approach to heart health innovation. 8n 2014, Fitbit pioneered the use of heart rate tracking on the wrist with its PurePulse technology, which uses photoplethysmography (PPG) to monitor the tiny blood volume fluctuations in the wrist as the heartbeats.
Fitbit announced PurePulse 2.0 in August 2020, delivering the company’s most advanced heart rate technology yet, using a multi-path heart rate sensor and improved algorithm. This enhanced technology provides users with on-device and in-app notifications if their heart rate goes above or below their set heart rate threshold.
Fitbit Sense is available for R7,999 in carbon/graphite stainless steel and lunar white/soft gold stainless steel.