Apple Inc. revealed data to the public demonstrating the ability of its Apple Watch to detect problems with irregular pulse rates. The data resulted from a large-scale study funded by the technology giant which intended to measure the potential for consumer tech products to support health maintenance.
The researchers involved with the study are hoping wearable tech products prove capable of providing early detection for arterial fibrillation. AF is the number one cause of irregular heartbeats and greatly increases the likelihood of a stroke.
The study, which involved more than 400,000 Apple Watch users, was discussed at a meeting for the American College of Cardiology that took place on Saturday in New Orleans.
The study reports that 2,000 of the 400,000 study participants were detected to have pulse rates that were irregular. The 2,000 individuals with irregular pulse rates were then sent ECG patches to detect any episodes of arterial fibrillation.
Eighty-four percent of the 2,000 Apple Watch users who were notified of irregular pulse rates were determined to suffer from episodes of arterial fibrillation.
Dr. Marco Perez works out of the Stanford School of Medicine and was a lead investigator on the study. Dr. Perez explains physicians will now be able to combine their individual assessments with information resulting from the study to provide a plan of action when an alert is given to a patient.
Another result from the study is that 57 percent of Apple Watch users who received an alert for an irregular pulse rate sought medical attention.
The Series 4 watch by Apple was not available to the public before the study began. The watch is capable of providing the user with an ECG to detect problems with the heart. The Series 4 watch was approved by the FDA for use in this capacity.
Another cardiologist, Dr. Deepak Bhatt, was not involved with the study but explains the study is extremely important because more and more individuals will make use of wearable technology for medical purposes. Bhatt went on to say the study is the first in an important series of steps necessary to determine an evidence-based use for this technology.
Lloyd Minor is dean at the Stanford School of Medicine. Minor thinks it is important to note arterial fibrillation is only the beginning of the medical benefits that can be derived from wearable technology. Minor says he is excited at the possibilities these technologies can have for the early detection of a number of diseases.