A gray Apple Watch positioned atop an autumn leaf

Want to keep a better eye on the ol' ticker? According to a report by Alex Webb for Bloomberg, Apple is working on developing an EKG feature for future models of the Apple Watch that will allow users to detect arrhythmias and other potentially dangerous heart issues. This is hardly a surprise, as Apple announced their plans to put more into researching irregular heart rhythms with Stanford Medicine back in November. As noted by Webb, data acquired through this research may help Apple in developing Apple Watch tools that can "spot abnormalities more easily and support the EKG project."

Bloomberg's report goes on to further describe how exactly the feature currently works in testing:

A version being tested requires users to squeeze the frame of the Apple Watch with two fingers from the hand that's not wearing the device. It then passes an imperceptible current across the person's chest to track electrical signals in the heart and detect any abnormalities like irregular heart rates.

EKGs, or electrocardiograms, are used often by medical professionals to ascertain whether or not a cardiac event has taken or is taking place. If the test recognizes any abnormalities that could increase the risk of more serious issues like strokes, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation (like tachycardia or an arrhythmia), the doctor and patient can then work together to combat those risks. However, because EKG machines in hospitals usually only monitor the heart's activity in short bursts, their ability to spot these abnormalities is pretty restricted. That's why wearable devices capable of performing an EKG on a more regular basis are hugely important — with an integrated EKG reader, the Apple Watch could go from being a coveted but perhaps unnecessary tech accessory to being a life-saving heart monitor.

Though all of this sounds fantastic, it is important to note that this feature is still in development, so it isn't clear whether or not the EKG reader will be incorporated in the next version of the Apple Watch (or at all). But as someone with a heart condition, I'm crossing my fingers.

If you can't wait for the possible new tech and want to perform an EKG with an Apple Watch right now, you can purchase the recently FDA-approved EKG Apple Watch band from AliveCor.

Thoughts? Questions?

What do you think about an integrated EKG reader for the Apple Watch? Give us a shout in the comments!

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