Unreadable / Noisy Vs. Atrial Fibrillation on Your Watch ECG

Unreadable Noisy Afib ECG
Qaly Heart
Qaly is built by Stanford engineers and cardiologists, including Dr. Marco Perez, a Stanford Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford Cardiac Electrophysiologist, and Co-PI of the Apple Heart Study.

Key Takeaways

Got other questions on Noise or Afib? See the Qaly guides on Noise and Afib:

Introduction

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a medical test that detects heart problems by measuring the electrical activity generated by the heart as it contracts. In the era of smartwatches and wearable tech, ECGs are no longer limited to hospital settings. This article explores two common readings you might encounter on your watch ECG: an unreadable/noisy ECG and atrial fibrillation (Afib), or "noisy ECG vs Afib." Let’s dive in!

What’s an Unreadable / Noisy ECG?

A noisy ECG is often marked by irregular, inconsistent waveforms that make it challenging to decipher the underlying heart rhythm. This could be due to external factors, such as movement or electrical interference, or internal factors, such as a low battery or malfunctions in the ECG's hardware or software.

Unreadable ECG on a Kardia ECG.
Unreadable ECG on a Kardia ECG.

The unreadable or noisy ECG trace on your watch may appear chaotic, without clear P waves, QRS complexes, or T waves, making it difficult to distinguish any regular rhythm.

Unreadable ECG on a Kardia ECG.
Unreadable ECG on a Kardia ECG.

What’s Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)?

Atrial fibrillation, often referred to as afib, is a form of irregular heart rhythm, often characterized by a rapid, irregular beating of the atria.

Afib read on a Kardia ECG through the Qaly app.
Afib read on a Kardia ECG through the Qaly app.

On an ECG, atrial fibrillation is represented by a lack of distinct P waves and an irregularly irregular RR interval. Here’s more on what Afib looks like on your watch ECG.

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Afib read on a Fitbit ECG through the Qaly app.
Afib read on a Fitbit ECG through the Qaly app.

What’s the Difference Between an Unreadable / Noisy ECG and Afib?

When comparing "noisy ECG vs Afib," it's essential to understand the key differences and implications of these ECG readings. A noisy ECG primarily indicates technical issues that can be corrected with proper electrode placement and reduced external interference.

In contrast, Afib is a medical condition characterized by an irregular heart rhythm that could lead to serious health issues. Even though both may present as an irregular rhythm on your watch ECG, Afib has a distinct pattern and clinical implications that differ from a noisy ECG.

Understanding your ECG, whether it's a noisy trace or indicative of a condition like Afib, is a vital step in managing your health. However, while watch ECGs are useful for personal health monitoring, they do not replace professional medical evaluation. Always consult with a healthcare provider for interpretation of ECG results and related health concerns. Stay informed, stay proactive, and stay heart healthy!

Still Not Sure if It’s Unreadable / Noisy or Atrial Fibrillation on Your ECG?

Differentiating between a noisy ECG vs Afib on your ECG can sometimes be tricky. If you’re still looking for help interpreting your ECG further, check out the Qaly app on App Store or Play Store. On Qaly, human experts will interpret your ECGs within minutes, day or night. Try out the Qaly app for free today!

Wondering if it's Unreadable / Noisy or Afib? On the Qaly app, human experts will interpret your ECGs for Unreadable / Noisy and Afib within minutes. Get started for free today.

Try free, cancel any time
Try Qaly for Free
App Store - Download Qaly | ECG Reader
Try Qaly for Free
Google Play - Download Qaly | ECG Reader
Try Qaly for Free
3 days free, cancel any time
QALY app - ecg reviews, ecg reader, ecg interpretations, review your ecg

Get 3 days of unlimited ECG reviews for free -->

Get 3 days of unlimited ECG reviews for free -->

Wondering if it's Unreadable / Noisy or Afib? On the Qaly app, human experts will interpret your ECGs for Unreadable / Noisy and Afib within minutes. Get started for free today.

Try Qaly for Free