The Apple Watch’s ECG Feature Is Finally Here. It’s Cool. Maybe Scary Too.

But that’s not the point. The point is that with these new heart features, Apple has, for some, raised the value proposition of the Apple Watch. Have those features transformed the device into an “intelligent guardian of your health,” as Apple claims? What do you think? I think “guardian” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. Perhaps the device is a guardian of your health in the same way a friend who looks at a sun spot on your arm and says “You might want to get that checked out” is a guardian of your health.

Certainly, that seems to be the opinion of cardiologists who are largely divided over whether the risk of unnecessary treatment and needless what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-my-heart anxiety is worth catching a few undiagnosed heart ailments.

Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, worries about overdiagnosis and overtreatment. “The question here is whether this will have a negative impact on some patients and/or their doctors,” he told BuzzFeed News. “The answer there is probably yes.”

That said, Weiss said he is excited by the Apple Watch’s ECG technology (“super cool”). “I try to think about where it can be useful to me and my patients,” he said. “Right now I am focused on using it as a tool to monitor for rhythm problems in people where there is not already a solution or where the current solution is not great. For that, I see it as a way to capture rare symptomatic events or eventually (maybe) as a way to capture rare asymptomatic events.”

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