Apple Watch Af reading : Hi all. When your... - AF Association

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Apple Watch Af reading

Lenlec profile image

Hi all. When your Apple Watch shows Af. Are the reading that you can save and email good for the ep / cardiologist to look at ? Or are they not considered very accurate? Cheers Just thinking of sending him my last Af episode in December

78 Replies

They are absolutely fine. Also, for about a year I did an ECG every four hours and copied my average heart rates on to a spreadsheet. I will attach a graph of one of these. This is probably most useful if you have regular PAf rather than one-offs.

I realised later that, with the Apple watch, you don't really need to do this, you could just look at your hr records for the day and use those values.

spreadsheet image
Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

Brilliant cheers. I’ve only had the one episode in dec so touch wood. Havnt for my follow up appointment till end of april and that’s just a telephone call

Good question Lenlec! Some will, some won't is probably the answer. An Apple watch ecg is not considered accurate enough to give you a diagnosis of AF, but the most thorough professionals will take a look at its findings, and some even find them really useful. I don't see how it can do harm to at least test the waters, but don't expect too much. It's a bit of a lottery!

Hi Lenlec, I was diagnosed from apple watch readings. Two of the doctors ignored the heart traces, but one took them seriously. Having Paroxysmal Afib, I could never time an episode to coincide with an official ECG so I have never had one to use for a diagnosis. A cardiologist I know looked at the heart trace and told me there was no doubt it was AF but that was not official so could not be put on my records.

One doctor kept saying, "Just call an ambulance when you get another episode" but the following attacks were either when abroad or at night. Plus I have doctor friends and one in the family who said not to call an ambulance (my episodes are maximum 4 hours and they said NHS massively stretched and I'd be more likely to have a stressful experience by ringing ambulance than sitting out the episode!)

Anyway, one of the doctors who dealt with me by chance (do people actually have a specific doctor these days? I've never seen the same one two times in a row at my practice) took the readings which I emailed seriously and apologised that I had been ignored for 6 months. I should say that I said in one of my emails and on the phone after being initially ignored, that it was unethical to not believe a patient or dismiss evidence. I believe that those words were what had the desired impact in the end, especially since there was a written record of my thoughts.

So even though I have just read a comment in this stream saying that you can not be diagnosed by apple watch readings alone, here I am with a different story! Gosh it's amazing how varied our experiences are.

The doctor said he would get it confirmed by a cardiologist but he was pretty sure of AF and went ahead and prescribed me meds (which I have not taken yet as am managing my condition quite well myself and will use as the pill in pocket if needed). The cardiologist subsequently confirmed the condition so Paroxysmal Arial Fibrillation is now on my NHS records - ultimately due to my Apple Watch readings and the built-in facility to be able to easily send the ecgs in an email.

Good luck with everything!

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to joolzj

My doctor told me to come up to the surgery when I was next in AFib and they would do an ECG. A few days later I did just that. As it was averaging 160 at that time the nurse made me see another doctor. She said I should double the bisoprolol although I was protesting about the dose I was already taking. I asked to see the community cardiology doctor who said I was an ideal candidate for an ablation. The hospital wanted a Holter monitor reading and when they saw it they seemed to think it was pretty dreadful and I got an ablation quite soon after.

I think that it could have saved them time and money if they had just taken my readings on board at the beginning.

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

What dose bisoprolol ?

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Lenlec

1.25. She wanted me to go up to 2.5. I told her that on occasion my hr had gone down to 47 and she said that she wouldn't worry until it was down to the low forties.

Perhaps, luckily, I was not prescribed Flecainide or I could be still taking that on a regular basis!

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

I take 2,5mg as pip and 100mg flecanide. But I’m gonna pay private to see the ep quicky

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to joolzj

Thanks that’s good to hear. I had a cryo ablation in sept. But had a Af episode mid December so want to go back to the ep and ask if there’s the possibility of a 2nd ablation which is often loads more successful?

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Lenlec

That's much to early to think it hasn't worked. However, I guess it depends on your symptoms.

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

No symptoms I used to get an episode once every couple of months max. So the ep did the ablation.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Lenlec

You seem to be worrying unduly when you only get an episode infrequently without symptoms. You had an ablation in September, one episode in December, and now you want another one already.

You are young so I think, in your position, I'd give it a bit more time. A year or two!

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

You think ? I thought it was best to get the 2nd touch up ablation done as soon as possible if you get Af after the 1st ?

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Lenlec

I don't think it is a 'touch up' operation. People get the odd incident for six months or a year but it doesn't mean the ablation hasn't worked.

Most people have to wait a long time for their first ablation so I think your second would be quite low down on their lists. However, let us know how you get on.

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to Physalis

Thanks will do

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

A cryoablation sometimes leaves gaps, hence the need for a ‘touch up’ with rf to fill those. A cryoablation wouldn’t have worked on me because my heart physiology isn’t totally normal/average. Even with an rf you can need a touch up if not completely successful, my EP told me it would be likely but my AF stayed away for nearly two years.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

I hadn't heard the expression touch-ups being mentioned here before. Perhaps I just missed it.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to Lenlec

I had a second ablation 12 weeks following the first however it really had to be done as the first made things a whole lot worse.

I do think the sooner the better but see what your specialist says and I would imagine, unless you are very symptomatic or episodes become frequent it would be at least 6-12 months after the first but every specialist seems to have different protocols so best consult.

Lenlec profile image
Lenlec in reply to CDreamer

Cheers I’ve booked a private appointment next week with a top ep to see how the land lies

JaneChapple profile image
JaneChapple in reply to Lenlec

My husband had 2 ablations, the last one in 2013, and thankdully no problems since.

Janexxx😎❤

baba profile image
baba in reply to joolzj

"unethical to not believe a patient or dismiss evidence".

I totally agree with this statement.

mav7 profile image
mav7 in reply to joolzj

Do Apple watches maintain a history of readings ?

e.g., When I awake, can I see what my HR was overnight ?

Thanks !

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to mav7

Yes but again not easy to print off as a report or to share.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to mav7

Yes you can see what it was all through the night. It takes a reading every three or four minutes. I could take the figure at 4 hourly intervals and put them on a spreadsheet to produce a graph. This would be most useful if you have AFib often or to check up to see if anything happened while you were asleep.

You can also, with a sleep program, find out if you have sleep apnoea which doesn't actually wake you up.

mav7 profile image
mav7 in reply to Physalis

Thanks for the great info, Physalis !

Which model would you recommend ? Would a preowned version 5, 6, or earlier work as well as the new 7 ?

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to mav7

Yes, I've got a 4. There isn't much difference between that and the 5, 6 or 7 models. I think the five had an always on clock face, 6 had O2 readings. I use it mainly now for the timer. I wear it all the time during the day which is interesting because I have never worn a watch indoors before. I bought it for the fall detect feature but haven't had a fall since. I can answer the phone on it but that feels a bit odd, talking to a watch. I keep a record of my daily steps, active energy, resting energy, heart rate, resting heart rate and heart rate variability. Not sure that it's very informative but I do it all the same.

Ebay have the series 4 watches for about £100-150.

mav7 profile image
mav7 in reply to Physalis

One last question, please.

Saw an sales ad today from a carrier but to get the sales price required the addition of a line. Is that only if you want phone/text capability ? Health functions will work without ?

fairgo45 profile image
fairgo45 in reply to mav7

What apple watch do you have and does it give you all the extra info even though your in afib?

KentAndrew profile image
KentAndrew in reply to mav7

Yes, my Apple Watch 6 reports my nighttime episodes of AFib to my iPhone.

Yes the ECG’s are stored in the Health App on your iPhone. My doctors won’t accept ECG tracings but will accept Kardia as been NHS approved, but only recently!

Physalis and I disagree about the accuracy of the iWatch, I much prefer the Kardia for accuracy and the reports but as a wearable iWatch will pick up the frequency of episodes for recording purposes so that can be very helpful. My beef with the iWatch ECG’s is how you go about sharing or printing them whereas the Kardia is directly from the App and super easy.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to CDreamer

It's quite easy really. I've transferred a lot on to my computer so that I can look at them or print them out if necessary. Would it look very different on a Kardia?

ECG
Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

That looks like very polite AF!

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

Yes, that's why I chose it!

Poochmom profile image
Poochmom in reply to CDreamer

I agree with you CDreamer. Have both the Apple Watch 6 and a Kardia 6 lead. The watch is pretty accurate at detecting AFib but I also have some other arrhythmias such as SVEs which the Kardia picks up nicely. The Kardia is far superior to the watch, in my opinion but like I said they both work for AFib itself.

“not checked for AF because heart rate was over 120 beats per minute”.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to baba

"The ECG app ver. 1 can check for AFib between 50 and 120 BPM. The ECG app ver. 2 can check for AFib between 50 and 150 BPM."

baba profile image
baba in reply to Physalis

If your rate is higher or lower it won't check for AF? Useless in my opinion.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to baba

It depends who is doing the checking? I never needed it to tell me I was in AFib. A hr of 140 or so was quite enough. I could see the difference between sinus rhythm at about 60 and Afib which was a lot higher.

The updated version which classifies cases of AFib up to 150 would catch most cases. I could update mine but don't need to.

A watch which would classify my ECG as AFib wouldn't have helped me but it would help anyone who didn't know they had AFib.

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

I see no point in a gadget that only goes to 150 if you already know you have AF and can recognise episodes because then what you really need to know is whether your rate is dangerously high, although to be fair, I guess you’d know by your symptoms 😵‍💫

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

It is no more a gadget than a Kardia. In my case it enabled me to take a lot of ECGs and record what was happening to me anywhere, anytime, even leaning up against a wall waiting for a bus, with an ECG registering an average 200bpm. No, you cannot guess that from your symptoms.

When it came down to it, I never needed to know if my rate was dangerously high. I needed to know when each episode started, when it finished and how long it had gone on for so that I could make a graph to show to the doctor. Without the watch I had been totally unable to do that.

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

Wow, you must be fit! I get angina at 130, at 200 I’d definitely need an ambulance 😱

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

I wasn't feeling too bright. I'd seen there were people waiting at the bus stop so I hurried, although I knew my pulse rate was high, thinking that when I got there I could sit down. Unfortunately, all the seats in the bus shelter were taken and, being British, I wasn't keen to ask someone to let me sit down. l leaned against the wall and did an ECG and fortunately, the bus came soon after and when I got off I felt pretty much ok.

fairgo45 profile image
fairgo45 in reply to baba

Yes that's what happend with my new fitbit sense since I developed bradycardia it gives little information luckily fitbit have given me a refund so I'm looking for a watch that works for a slow heartbeat and afibI'm being considered for a pacemaker but have read you can't use devices if you have one has anyone got any info on this

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to fairgo45

Yes, Kardia ‘isn’t tested’ for use with pacemakers because (I think) the electric signal from the pm interferes with the signal to Kardia so the result isn’t accurate.

baba profile image
baba in reply to fairgo45

fairgo45 Sorry for late reply. See this recent post re Kardia. There is a reply from DrDave01, who invented Kardia to detect AF.

healthunlocked.com/afassoci...

I don't have experience of any smart watches. I have a pacemaker (activates if my heart rate drops below 50), and a Kardia which I only now use occasionally as I'm in permanent AFib. It is useful for checking heart rate i.e. after exercise, or if I feel something is amiss. It doesn't interfere with my pacemaker and pacemaker does not interfere with Kardia. I have ever captured a couple of paced beats on a couple of occasions.

Although I'm in permanent AFib I was having long pauses between beats before I had the pacemaker.

fairgo45 profile image
fairgo45 in reply to baba

Permanent afibs no fun is it.Apparently even your smart phone should be 6 inches away from you with a pacemaker

My heart drops below 50 a lot so my cardiologist is talking about me having one fitted can you tell me how you find living with one ?

baba profile image
baba in reply to fairgo45

I have no symptoms from permanent AFib, except breathlessness walking uphill. Not on any medication except Apixaban (anticoagulant).

Most of the time I forget I have the pacemaker. You need to be careful for about 6 weeks after it is inserted, not lifting your arm etc, so you don't dislodge the leads until they are bedded in.

There are a few things to be avoided, halogen hobs, airport screening.

There are different types of pacemaker, I have a single lead, didn't have a choice as it was inserted in emergency situation. If you are having one have a good discussion withe your consultant. Resynchronization ones are more sophisticated.

fairgo45 profile image
fairgo45 in reply to baba

Thank you that was very informative. Is the pacemaker very visible as a woman I'm afraid it will interfere with what I wear.

Yes. The Kardia allows you to pick a date range to produce a report with a graph showing the number of events directly from the App on your phone, email or print or download with no computer required.First page looks like this:-

Following pages show snippets of any recordings with suspicious activity. Bear in mind I haven’t had any AF this month or taken many Kardia readings so doesn’t show much. My EP really likes this as he can see at a glance.

Kardia monthly report
Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to CDreamer

Your picture is too small to read.

I have not read all the responses, but will offer this:

I don't think something that reads your pulse from your wrist can create data comparable to an ECG - I have come to realise (despite claiming otherwise in the past) that you can tell from watches with heart rate monitors (on the wrist) whether you are in afib - this will become obvious as the reading will not make sense...but I do not think these read your heart rate accurately when you are in afib.

A related, but slightly different point: I am now in permanent afib and use a chest strap when I exercise and while it clearly shows that my heart rate is all over the show I am not confident it is showing my true heart rate - its accuracy is within a range, but I am very sure its no where near ECG accuracy.

Thats IMHO.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to Jonathan_C

What device are you using with your chest strap? I have an old Garmin 305, it's how I found out I had afib. It was accurate at 165bpm to the ECG the paramedic took when he ambulance arrived. (111 sent it! ) .Twice more at similar rates in A&E on different occasions when they used a finger monitor and said my hr was only 80, I insisted they took an ecg and got a similar bpm to the garmin. Not saying its exact but close enough.

Jonathan_C profile image
Jonathan_C in reply to KMRobbo

Polar M430 with blue tooth transmitter. Also bear in mind that polyester shirts can throw these readings out.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to Jonathan_C

So that M430 has a chest belt? I ask as my old garmin is not compatible with windows 10 so am looking for something with a chest belt to replace it, in my belief that chest belts checking electrical activities are more accurate than wrist based pulse monitors.I have an old obsolete windows 7 PC that I have around to use only because of the garmin!

Jonathan_C profile image
Jonathan_C in reply to KMRobbo

I got one of these separately to the watch

polar.com/za/products/acces...

I am sure Garmin has something similar.

Jonathan_C profile image
Jonathan_C in reply to KMRobbo

I got that bluetooth waist band piece so I could connect to my phone, which worked well. Only later did I get the watch.

KMRobbo profile image
KMRobbo in reply to Jonathan_C

Yes the old Garmin has the chest strap.I will investigate this wath further.

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Jonathan_C

You are right but I've found that all the heart rate readings from my Apple watch on my wrist seem to be perfectly accurate which is a lot more than I can say for the wrist monitor or my Omron bp machine. Its ECG uses the same technology as the Kardia.

I have the SE model and it doesn’t give a reading, it just says “Your heart is showing signs of abnormal rhythm” that’s all, then I use my Kardia which I can email to my Dr

My Cardiologist & EP asked me to email him the traces from my Apple Watch.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to KentAndrew

Some of the cardiologists in London were using them and were quite enthusiastic about green light tech and has been said, will pick up AF but nothing else.

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to CDreamer

I have a watch that uses green light tech but because my rate and ‘power’ is very variable in AF it can’t keep up, so the HR it gives is much too low. I had an episode yesterday and even my Kardia was struggling to keep up, sometimes just showing a couple of dashes where the rate should be because the tachy runs were so fast though the highest average was 130. Looking at Apple Watch ‘AF’ recordings they don’t give nearly as much info as the Kardia, unless that is from someone who has very ‘mild’ AF! My Kardia recording showed clearly where my heartbeat was ‘rippling’ instead of positively beating 😓

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

I think that the Apple watch ECGs are pretty much the same as the Kardia's. It's a one lead across the heart. Atrial fibrillation is extremely common but if you want it to pick up more unusual heart conditions a 6-lead Kardia would be better.

I think if my heart was rippling it would show up on my watch but it wouldn't try to diagnose it.

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

Kardia PDF

AF and ‘ripples’
Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Buffafly

Why don't you start a thread with that reading. What does the Kardia diagnose it as?

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to Physalis

AF

baba profile image
baba in reply to Buffafly

"even my Kardia was struggling to keep up, sometimes just showing a couple of dashes where the rate should be because the tachy runs were so fast though the highest average was 130."

But every beat will be recorded and countable in the ECG.

Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to baba

Yes, that’s why it’s so good. I have pdf’d it because I want to be referred back to the cardiologist for a pacemaker - see separate post later 😕

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to CDreamer

The Apple watch uses green light technology to record the hr over the day and night. However, it uses the same across the heart method to record an ECG. In my case it is from the index finger of my right hand to the crown of the watch on my left wrist.

I was told by Arrythmia nurse, cardiologists will only accept readings from kardia mobile and not Apple Watch!

Physalis profile image
Physalis in reply to Suesouth

Then I think they are somewhat behind the times. Or maybe she is.

Probably, but GP told me the same! I have both, and they give the same readings so…….

I looked down at my apple watch in July last year and it said I was in Atrial Fibrillation. I could feel my heart beating fast just didn’t know what it was. I presented at St Thomas who booked me in and said the apple watch is not accurate and my heart beat was normal. I waited 20 mins for ECG, as he wired me up he told me they were ineffective at monitoring heart beat, but once hooked up and he saw my heart beat (179-190) he panicked, grabbed a wheel chair and ran me down to resus. My apple watch was, and always has been accurate to the beat.

Hi, kind of same experience in may 21. On my IWatch ( versie 7.2.6) I saw exactly on 3 ECG’s the building up of Afib in a few evening hours: I made a phone call to the first aid and a nurse came home to make a ECG and the IWatch was correct for a warning. I am happy I spend some money on it; I consider my watch a bit as ‘my life line’ ; good to keep yourself on track for activity, sleep etc etc. And also the weather channel of course 👌although the sky here in 🇳🇱 looks this whole new year as grey as can be . Nice for painting but I don’t have the talent like the famous Dutch painters did in the 17e century. Have a nice weekend, Antonia

I found out I had Afib through my Apple Watch. Thought I was just having heart palpitations so decided to use the EKG app on the watch and it said I was experiencing Atrial Fibrillation. My heart rate got up to 160 so I checked into emergency lab by my house and sure enough. I have since had two ablations - my last one about a year ago. My doctors want me to send in the readings from my watch twice a week or whenever I think I’m in afib. I think the second ablation did it for me though and I’ve been feeling really good but love the fact I can check my watch for skipped beats etc and know my watch will let me know if I’m in afib. I wouldn’t be without it.

Our AF cardiologist suggested the Apple Watch 6 we’ve had them 8 months now. We both have Afib and svts and Afib flutter. Our cardiologist takes our phones and reads all the records that have been recorded from our Apple Watch. He keeps telling us how grateful he is for the information. He still does all our regular ekgs and test but it’s amazing how accurate the watch is. Our Verizon guy set up our watches with the heart app that records the info automatically! We love them. We can do ECG anytime as well. My husband was hospitalized in September for an Afib episode. Which his watch had warned him about. The nurses would check his watch readings against their readings and They couldn’t believe how accurate the watch was. I’m never without mine.,

I originally had a GP who thought using an Apple Watch and Kardia ECG was a good thing. I sent him some readings and this is what started me on Rivaroxiban. He left and his replacement was the opposite saying to me the best thing you can do with them is to throw the watch away along with the z Kardia saying it will make me obsessed. I’m due finally to be fitted with a three day Monitor next Thursday at last as I’ve been in AF now since November but with no real symptoms.

On 10mg Amalodopine, 20mg Rivaroxiban 1.25mg Bisoprollo 20mg Atorvastatin

Stuart

My wife is a doctor and got me an Apple Watch 7 for Xmas just so we have ready access to ECGs if required. I have frequent AF episodes but only with modest symptoms - reduced athletic performance and annoying feeling owing to higher, irregular beats.She consulted with quite a few colleagues and all agreed that the quality of the ECGs is very useful. I’ve a record of every episode since Boxing Day (~6) and could email them if required.

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