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FDA approves first EKG reader for Apple Watch

The FDA has cleared the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch, made by AliveCor, whose CEO is former Google+ boss Vic Gundotra. The accessory is AliveCor’s KardiaBand electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, a sensor that pairs with an app and can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib). The user touches the sensor, which snaps into a slot on the watch’s band, to get an EKG reading in 30 seconds. The recording can then be sent to a doctor.

Using AI, the KardiaBand can predict and analyze someone’s heart rate based on data from both sick and healthy people, Bloomberg notes. “It doesn’t apply a generic range — instead, it determines what’s abnormal for you.” A device like this could play an important role in quickly diagnosing abnormalities and then alerting health-care professionals to life-threatening situations.

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