Fitbit is starting to roll out notifications of irregular heartbeat on these watches and trackers [U]

Earlier this month, Fitbit was given permission by the US FDA to passively send messages when signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) were detected by its smartwatches and trackers. Now, Fitbit is officially rolling out irregular heartbeat notifications to nine of its products, including Sense and Charge 5.

Irregular heartbeat notifications are what Fitbit has decided to call notifications that alert users to a potential heart problem. AFib is the most common form of irregular heartbeat affecting more than 5 million people in the United States alone, according to John Hopkins Medicine, and Fitbit says over 33 million are affected globally. AFib is a serious condition that leaves those affected five times more likely to have a stroke, according to Fitbit.

The technology that drives these messages on Fitbit is similar to that used for electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, but does not require much hardware. Rather, they rely on Fitbit’s PPG (photoplethysmography) algorithm, which the company claims is 98% efficient at detecting these conditions compared to a traditional ECG machine. Where ECG is limited to Fitbit Sense and Charge 5 only, irregular heartbeat notifications will be available on nine products as listed below.

These Fitbit products support irregular heartbeat notifications:

  • Fitbit Sense firmware version or later
  • Fitbit Versa 3 – firmware version or later
  • Fitbit Versa 2 – firmware version or later
  • Fitbit Versa Lite – firmware version or later
  • Fitbit Charge 5 – firmware version 20001.141.4 or later
  • Fitbit Luxe – firmware version 58.20001.130.17 or later
  • Fitbit Charge 4 – firmware version 20001.78.33 or later
  • Fitbit Charge 3 – firmware version 20001.49.45 or later
  • Fitbit Inspire 2 – firmware version 20001.98.14 or later

Update: On a support page, Fitbit has confirmed that you need to update the firmware on your Fitbit to use this feature. We have updated the list above to include the minimum firmware version for each device.

Fitbit detects irregular heartbeats without any user interaction and takes readings when the wearer remains still or asleep. Notifications are sent to the Fitbit app.

Irregular heartbeat notifications are rolling out from April 25 on the hardware above, but it may take a few weeks before they appear to everyone.

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