Heart Education
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What Inconclusive ECG Means on an Apple Watch

QALY Team
What Inconclusive ECG means on Apple Watch

Key Takeaways

  • An inconclusive reading on an Apple smartwatch ECG isn't usually a cause for concern.
  • QALY provides an alternative to sending Inconclusive ECG readings to your doctor.

For over a decade, Apple has consistently been at the cutting edge of smart technology. One of the many strides they've made is adding an ECG reader to their Apple Watch. While the ECG feature on the Apple watch usually works great, you may have noticed that it sometimes gives you an "inconclusive" result. Don't be alarmed; an inconclusive reading doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong with your heart. The problem could be that the watch is too loose on your wrist or that you have a pacemaker that causes a misreading. However, it could also mean that you have an arrhythmia throwing off the recording.

If you recently received an inconclusive ECG result on your Apple smartwatch and are searching for answers, you've come to the right place.

What is an ECG?

An ECG, also known as an electrocardiogram, uses electrical impulses in your heart to measure your heart's health. Here are some of the things an ECG will show.  

  • How fast your heart is beating
  • The rhythm of your heartbeat
  • Checking whether or not your heart is skipping a beat
  • How strong the electrical impulses are that are moving through your heart

Possible Reasons for an Inconclusive Result on Your Apple Watch ECG

Apple's smartwatch is an incredible technology, but it's also prone to a snafu here and there. One such issue is that it sometimes gives inconclusive readings after running an ECG test.  

When you get an inconclusive ECG result, your first instinct might be one of fear or worry. While an inconclusive reading could be a sign of an abnormal heartbeat or rhythm, it could also mean something else entirely. Here are some of the most common reasons for getting an inconclusive result on an Apple Watch ECG.

  • Your heart rate is currently somewhere between 100 and 120 beats per minute.
  • You have a pacemaker or implanted cardioverter defibrillator throwing off the reading.
  • Your watch is too loose around your wrist, and you can't get an accurate reading.
  • You didn't have your arms in the right position while taking the reading.
  • You have a physical condition where you can't create enough of a signal for the ECG to get an accurate measurement.
  • You have a heart arrhythmia that isn't in your watch's database.

Arrhythmias Not Detectable With the Apple Watch ECG Feature

As we stated above, one of the possible reasons that your ECG reading came back as inconclusive is because of an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when your heart has an irregular beat or an abnormal rhythm. Some forms of arrhythmia are very common and not cause for concern. Others, however, can be dangerous in putting you at higher risk for heart conditions and diseases. Here are the arrhythmias that may cause an inconclusive reading on Apple's ECG.

  • Premature Atrial Contraction (PAC) - Single, multiple, bigeminy, trigeminy, or couplet.
  • Premature Ventricular Contraction (PVC) - Single, multiple, bigeminy, trigeminy, or couplet.
  • SVT
  • V-Tach
  • Wenckebach
  • Accelerated Idioventricular Rhythm

What Does an Inconclusive Result Mean for Me?

An inconclusive result could mean any of the things mentioned above. If you have a pacemaker or ICD, the result is being caused by them. It could also mean that you didn't run the test properly and should try again. However, it could also be an indicator of an irregular heartbeat.

What You Should Do After Getting an Inconclusive Result

If it's the first time you've gotten this type of reading, you should tighten the watch, ensure your arms are rested, and try the test again. However, if you constantly have inconclusive readings and don't have a pacemaker or a heart rate between 100 and 120, it could indicate that you have an arrhythmia.

If you're worried about an arrhythmia, you should contact your doctor and make an appointment immediately.

How Can QALY Help Me?

If you're getting an inconclusive reading on your Apple watch ECG and you're at your wit's end, QALY is here to help. We have a team of healthcare professionals who specialize in reading ECG results. All you have to do is send us the ECG reading from your smartwatch, and one of our pros will decipher it and get back to you with a detailed analysis. Our analysis and assistance will give you the information you need to determine what your next steps should be.

Sources

What does an inconclusive ECG result mean on Apple Watch? - 9to5Mac

Take an ECG with the ECG app on Apple Watch - Apple Support

Electrocardiogram | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Heart Feels Off? Get Your ECGs Analyzed by Experts on the QALY App.

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