Fitbit is rolling out its passive atrial fibrillation feature across its range of smartwatches and fitness trackers.
The feature, which was cleared by the FDA back in March, enables Fitbit devices to use the PPG optical heart rate monitor to scan for possible heart rate rhythm issues.
Previously, this could only be done by the ECG sensor, which enables the Fitbit Charge 5 and Fitbit Sense to perform heart rate rhythm spot checks. But this new feature enables a wider range of Fitbit devices to check for heart rate rhythm issues.
The full range of devices to receive the feature is:
- Fitbit Sense
- Fitbit Versa 3
- Fitbit Versa 2
- Fitbit Versa Lite
- Fitbit Charge 5
- Fitbit Luxe
- Fitbit Charge 4
- Fitbit Charge 3
- Fitbit Inspire 2
That means that pretty much every Fitbit device dating back as far as 2018 will gain a feature that’s so far been exclusive to a handful of the most advanced smartwatches – and millions more people will have access.
Afib is a condition that’s estimated to affect 33.5 million people globally (according to a 2013 study), although many won’t be aware they even suffer from it. But it’s also a leading cause of strokes – so helping people become aware of the condition is crucial.
Afib can also be transient, so constant scanning is much more helpful than relying on the user to spot check manually.
“[Passive monitoring] will pick up the things that you wouldn't have been aware of yourself," Dr Conor Heneghan, Director of Research Algorithms at Fitbit told us.
“It can let you know if Afib events happen during sleep, when you’re least aware of it,” he continued.
And that means more people can start a conversation with their doctor.
The rollout has started in the US only for now, so look out for an update over the next few weeks. You can find out how to update your Fitbit device with our guide.
How we test