Withings has just reactivated the Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) feature in its top of the range Body Cardio scale. This was switched off early last year due to difficulties in obtaining the necessary regulatory approval. For now the functionality has only been enabled for those living in Europe.
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With every beat the heart generates a wave that propagates along the arteries. The propagation speed of this wave is directly linked to the health of your arteries. Faster speeds indicate stiffer arteries, which increase the risk of developing hypertension or cardiovascular disease. PWV is a great indicator of cardiovascular health as it’s a measure of arterial stiffness or the rate at which pressure waves move down the vessels.
The Body Cardio scale dishes out readings and provides an assessment within the Health Mate app. It is the only scale that does this. Taking age into account, the app then informs as to whether the PWV reading is optimal or not, and provides tips on how to improve it. Or at least it did until the functionality was switched off in January last year.
The news came as a great disappointment to existing customers as the PWV metric made the rather pricey gadget stand out from the competition. The Body Cardio remained available for purchase, but it wasn’t an attractive option without the feature.
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Withings says it voluntarily deactivated PWV at the time to seek clarification on regulatory approval. It has since been determined that no further approval is needed as the scale is not a medical device. For now the functionality is only back in Europe but other regions should hopefully follow soon.
“We are currently working closely with the FDA, and we aim to bring back the feature to our US users in the foreseeable future,” Withings writes on its blog.
The company adds it is also working on getting clearance in other countries.
If you live in Europe, you can reactivate the feature by updating your Health Mate app to the latest version. This is 4.3.4 for Android and 4.4.1 for iOS. The other alternative is to update your scale to firmware 1811. If the the scale is connected to Wi-Fi the feature will be automatically reactivated.
As an existing owner of the Body Cardio (who lives in London), I’m happy to say a simple update to the smartphone app brought back the PWV feature. Just as if you were using it for the first time, you will need to take 5 separate measurements for the scale to start spitting out actual PWV measurements.
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