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FDA clears Fitbit devices to get passive heart rhythm detection for AFib

This passive tool will help people know if they are experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib) problems.
By
April 11, 2022
A Fitbit Charge 5 displays a user's heart rate.
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The FDA has cleared Fitbit heart rhythm detection for monitoring atrial fibrillation (AFib) problems.
  • The tool will work in the background removing the need for manual testing.
  • Fitbit would not disclose which devices would receive the feature or when it would arrive.

Higher-end Fitbit devices have electrocardiogram (ECG) tools. This allows you to manually run an ECG and check out your heart rhythm. If you do enough manual testing, you can spot irregularities that could help save your life.

However, needing to run manual tests isn’t super helpful. That’s why it’s good news that the FDA has cleared passive Fitbit heart rhythm monitoring. This will allow Fitbit products to run heart rhythm tests in the background and give you a heads up on issues related to atrial fibrillation (AFib). People who are experiencing AFib problems are at a higher risk of stroke.

See also: A how-to guide for workouts and exercises on Fitbit

According to Fitbit, its tests of the feature showed a 98% success rate in identifying AFib issues. Obviously, a Fitbit device won’t be a replacement for visiting a doctor and getting official medical tests, but a Fitbit will be able to act as an early warning system, which is certainly better than nothing.

If this feature sounds familiar it’s because certain Apple Watch models already support it. This brings Fitbit heart monitoring more in line with Apple’s industry-defining product.

Unfortunately, Fitbit did not disclose which of its products would see this feature. It also didn’t say when we would see it. However, if we had to guess, we would say it’s likely that it would come to Fitbit’s current flagship products, which are the Sense and the Charge 5. Those are the only two devices in the company’s roster with ECG support.