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Fitbit Is Rolling Out Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications To Nine Devices

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Fitbit has started rolling out Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications to its devices. As many as nine Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers are picking up the new feature this week. These include the Fitbit Sense, Versa 2,  Versa 3, and Versa Lite smartwatches and Fitbit Charge 3, Charge 4, Charge 5, Inspire 2, and Luxe trackers (via).

Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications alert users of these Fitbit wearables of a potential heart problem based on their heart rhythms. Fitbit has developed a new PPG (photoplethysmography) algorithm to detect signs of atrial fibrillation, better known as AFib, and notify the user via the Fitbit app so they can quickly seek medical attention.

Affecting more than 33 million people globally (over five million in the US), AFib is a serious heart condition. According to Fitbit, people affected with AFib are at five times higher risk of a stroke than any other form of irregular heart rhythm. Early detection can be highly valuable to help prevent a later stroke.

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Fitbit’s PPG algorithm regularly checks your heart rhythms in the background. It uses the optical heart-rate sensor of your device “to monitor the volume changes of blood vessels in your wrist”. Based on these measurements, it notifies the user of potential AFib.

The Google-owned company claims 98 percent accuracy as compared to a traditional ECG monitor. But it does so with much less hardware. That’s why it is available to a wide range of devices while ECG is limited to just the Fitbit Sense and Charge 5. The PPG algorithm can also automatically detect irregular heart rhythms. It doesn’t require any user interaction. The feature works even when you are asleep.

Fitbit begins rolling out Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications

In March, Google, which owns Fitbit, announced that it is seeking approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its PPG algorithm for detecting AFib through wrist-worn devices. Earlier this month, the company gained the approval, allowing it to roll out the feature to compatible Fitbit devices. A couple of weeks later, the rollout has begun. If you are using any of the aforementioned nine Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers in the US, you should be receiving the Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications feature anytime now.

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Note that it could take a week or two for the new feature to be available to all eligible devices across the country. So if you don’t see it on your device yet, do not fret. You will get it soon.