Smartwatches and fitness trackers can be a big help in improving our ability to see the state of our health, and heart health is especially important. Fitbit is now rolling out support for Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications, which can detect and notify you of signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

What are Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications on Fitbit?

Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers have the ability to detect signs of atrial fibrillation, known as AFib. The common heart condition affects hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone every year. The Mayo Clinic explains that this condition can raise your risk of stroke, blood clots in the heart, and other heart-related complications.

Using a specialized algorithm granted clearance by the FDA earlier this year, Fitbit can detect signs of AFib and notify users of that condition. The information is typically used to help those affected by the condition to talk with their healthcare provider.

Which Fitbit devices are compatible?

Of course, to use this functionality, you’ll need a compatible Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker. Luckily, a large number of the brand’s devices are fully ready to use this feature:

  • Fitbit Sense — firmware version 44.128.1.42 or higher
  • Fitbit Versa 3 — firmware version 36.128.1.42 or higher
  • Fitbit Versa 2 — firmware version 35.68.9.7 or higher
  • Fitbit Versa Lite — firmware version 38.33.1.30 or higher
  • Fitbit Charge 5 — firmware version 20001.141.4 or higher
  • Fitbit Luxe — firmware version 58.20001.130.17 or higher
  • Fitbit Charge 4 — firmware version 20001.78.33 or higher
  • Fitbit Charge 3 — firmware version 20001.49.45 or higher
  • Fitbit Inspire 2 — firmware version 20001.98.14 or higher

How to set up AFib notifications on Fitbit

As of May 5, 2022, Fitbit is still in the process of rolling out support for Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications for AFib detection. Here’s exactly how it works.

To set up Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications for AFib on Fitbit devices, you’ll first need the feature to show up in your app. That will likely occur through a notice at the top of the app’s “Today” screen, but you can also see an Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification tile on the “Discover” tab. This can be found under the “Assessments & Reports” section if your paired Fitbit device is compatible.

Next up, you’ll go through a nine-page setup process that largely includes a lot of information and warnings. After tapping Set Up Now on the first page, you’ll get an explanation of what Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications looks for, specifically using Fitbit sensor data to detect signs of AFib. The app will next ask to confirm your date of birth and if you have ever been diagnosed with AFib by a medical professional. Users under the age of 22 are not eligible for this feature. The next page explains the privacy of your information.

Beyond that, Fitbit will explain the best performance for Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications comes with wearing your device overnight, and reminds you to open the app daily to sync data. If you receive a notification, Fitbit recommends that you leave your medication and health regimen the same and talk to a healthcare provider. Another page reminds users that it’s possible for Fitbit to miss an AFib event, and that some people don’t have symptoms with AFib. There’s also a note that Fitbit cannot check for a heart attack, stroke, or any other heart conditions.

Once you’ve completed setup, you’re likely good to go. If your Fitbit does detect signs of AFib, going to the “Discover” tab and clicking on the Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications tab will present a View Notifications button which will list any previous detections.

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Ben Schoon

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