New Garmin smartwatch ECG app rolls out in the US – but comes with a catch

Close up of the Garmin Venu 2 smartwatch
(Image credit: Garmin)

As we reported last week Garmin, the leader in the best smartwatches for mountain biking, is bringing ECG and a dedicated on-demand electrocardiogram (ECG) app to its compatible smartwatches.

It's called, of course, the ECG App and does exactly what it says on the tin – analyses your heart rhythm and checks for AFib (atrial fibrillation) which can increase the risk of strokes and heart issues. If you show signs of the condition, the app will detect and alert you. It also syncs with the Garmin Connect app, allowing you to create a report to share with your doctor. It's important to detect early signs of AFib as it can also be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

At the moment there is quite a big catch though, as to begin with at least, you'll have to be using a Garmin Venu 2 Plus smartwatch and be in the US to use the ECG app. Government approval in other countries is needed before it rolls out elsewhere.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus smartwatch in cream with packaging

You'll have to be wearing a Garmin Venu 2 Plus and be in the US to use the ECG App (Image credit: Future)

So if you're in the US and have the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, here's how to access the new ECG app (as first reported by our colleagues at Advnture.com). First, Garmin warns that the app, "Can not be used to diagnose a condition directly, and is for informational purposes only. You shouldn't use the app if you have a pacemaker, implanted defibrillator, or any other implanted electronic device and seek medical advice should alerts show unusual heart rhythms."

You will need to update your device's firmware to version 11.21 or later and also update the Garmin Connect app to access the new ECG App. Rather than covering a step by step guide, Garmin has released a handy how to use guide which it recommends that all users read before using the ECG App.

A person using the ECG app with a Garmin watch

The Garmin smartwatch will transmit heart data to the ECG app on a user's phone (Image credit: Garmin)

The brand also adds, "The ECG app only works on demand and users need to activate it manually as and when they wish to use ECG" adding that "it does not refresh in background and that it is important users familiarize themselves with all settings before use."

As mentioned it appears that the ECG app is only compatible with the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, but hopefully, it will be rolled out on Garmin smartwatches which are already equipped with the necessary hardware in the coming months.

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm