In June, we covered South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety clearance of Samsung’s new electrocardiogram (ECG) feature for the Galaxy Watch Active2. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the same feature for the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 and the Galaxy Watch Active2. The ECG monitor records and analyzes heart rhythms and can detect signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

AFib is an irregular heart rhythm in which the atrium, or upper chambers of the heart, beat out of sync with the lower chambers (the ventricles). Viral infections, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, stimulant medications, and other stimulants like caffeine and tobacco, and many other factors contribute to AFib. Early detection of AFib can help prevent adverse cardiovascular events, such as blood clots, stroke, and heart failure. Unfortunately, AFib doesn’t always cause symptoms, so people might not realize they have the condition.

The ECG sensor technology integrates with the Samsung Health Monitor app for Galaxy smartphones. The user rests their arm on a flat surface and places a fingertip on the sensor button on top of their Samsung Watch. The watch records the reading and labels it as either a normal sinus reading or AFib. For a more detailed picture of heart rhythm health, users can note symptoms of concern, like fatigue or shortness of breath, within the app. They can also use the app to send an ECG report to their healthcare provider.

The Galaxy Watch3 sensor can also detect blood oxygen saturation, and provides data about overall wellness and oxygen efficiency during exercise. Additional health and fitness monitoring features include advanced sleep tracking, a “digital running coach” that offers running analysis, and cardio fitness tracking. Post-workout reports help users enhance exercise performance and avoid injury.

The ECG feature, along with the Watch’s other functions, offers consumers precision health tracking. For patients with concerns about AFib, it provides reassurance and makes getting regular exercise less worrisome. As the quantifying personal health trend grows, we can expect to see more advanced sensor capabilities appearing on popular personal health tracking devices.