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Apple Watch Monitors Irregular Heart Beats

Apple Watch Monitors Irregular Heart Beats

Tuesday, 19 March, 2019 - 06:45
Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, speaks about the new Apple Watch Series 4 at the company's product-launch event in Cupertino, California. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Apple Watch was able to detect irregular heart pulse rates that could signal the need for further monitoring for a serious heart rhythm problem, according to data from a large study funded by Apple Inc.

The study demonstrated a potential future role for wearable consumer technology in healthcare. Researchers hope the technology can assist in early detection of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of irregular heartbeat.

According to Reuters, patients with untreated AF are five times more likely to have a stroke.

Results of the largest AF screening and detection study, involving over 400,000 Apple Watch users, were presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

Of the participants, 0.5%, or about 2,000 subjects, received notifications of an irregular pulse. Those people were sent an ECG (electrocardiography) patch to wear for subsequent detection of atrial fibrillation episodes.

Researchers said a third of those whose watches detected an irregular pulse were confirmed to have atrial fibrillation using the ECG technology. Some 84% of the irregular pulse notifications were later confirmed to have been AF episodes, data showed.

Dr. Marco Perez, one of the study's lead investigators from Stanford School of Medicine, said: "The physician can use the information from the study, combine it with their assessment ... and then guide clinical decisions around what to do with an alert."

For Apple, the data provides firepower as it pushes into healthcare.

Its new Series 4 Watch, which became available only after the study began so was not used, has the ability to take an electrocardiogram to detect heart problems and required clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration.

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