Apple yesterday released watchOS 5.2 to the masses, an update which brings with it support for ECG monitoring in UK, Canada, Hong Kong and a host of European countries.

The update is a free download for all owners of Apple’s most recent Apple Watches, although the ECG functionality is only available on the newest Apple Watch Series 4.

Previously, the ECG feature was only available in the United States while Apple awaiting the cutting of associated red tape around the globe. Now. that appears to have happened in a host of new countries.

By bringing the new countries online, Apple has dramatically expanded the reach of the ECG feature, one which has already been proven to save lives. As of watchOS 5,2 the countries where ECG is available include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US, and US Virgin Islands

New electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Apple Watch Series 4 work together with the ECG app to enable customers to take an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Taking an ECG recording is as simple as launching the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 and touching the Digital Crown, which completes the circuit and allows electrical signals across the user’s heart to be measured. After 30 seconds, the ECG app can classify the user’s heart rhythm as AFib or sinus rhythm.

If the owner of an Apple Watch Series 1 or newer device, you can also now take advantage of irregular rhythm notifications, allowing the watch to let you know when it detects an irregular rhythm from five checks over a period of 65 minutes.

Available on Apple Watch Series 1 or later, the irregular rhythm notification feature will occasionally check the user’s heart rhythm in the background for signs of an irregular heart rhythm using the optical heart sensor. If an irregular rhythm is detected on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes, Apple Watch alerts the user with a notification.

Both of these features have the very real potential to save lives, and we’re super pleased to see them coming to more countries outside the United States.

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