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Two Revolutionary Health Features on the Apple Watch Series 4

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

On September 21, Apple released the Apple Watch Series 4. As Women’s Health wrote in a recent review, this device has the potential to be more than just a fitness investment – it can be a lifesaver:

“The new Apple Watch health and fitness features make it a powerful device for your overall well-being. That’s because game-changing bells and whistles have elevated the Apple Watch Series 4 from an investment-worthy health accessory to a sleek and beautiful device that actually might save your life.”

The new Apple Watch Series 4 brings a number of changes, most significantly: fall detection and ECG reading. Let’s take a closer look at what those features could mean for patients at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics.

Fall Detection on the Apple Watch

Fall assessments are a big part of what we do in our Houston offices. One in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, and up to 30 percent of these individuals sustain a moderate to severe injury. While we make an effort to educate patients in fall prevention techniques, falls – and fractures – do happen.

The new Apple Watch features an accelerometer and gyroscope that can detect if you’ve fallen. Upon a hard fall, the device will ask if you would like to call emergency services. An easy swipe can call 9-1-1 and message your emergency contacts. If you’re unresponsive for 60 seconds, the Apple Watch will automatically place the call and notify your contacts for you. In addition to making the emergency call, the Apple Watch can store and display critical Medical ID information for emergency personnel.


Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in this year’s device is the ability to take an ECG, which provides data that can be used to detect an irregular heart rhythm (such as atrial fibrillation). A consumer-friendly ECG device that fits on your wrist – and has FDA-approval – is truly a revolutionary development.

The heart rhythm data can easily be exported and shared with your primary care provider or our team at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. The device can even notify you of a high heart rate or arrhythmia without requiring you to initiate a scan.

Find a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor Near You

Looking for a sports medicine doctor in Houston? Schedule your first appointment with Dr. Rosemary Buckle at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.