Mar 20 2019

Apple Watch Can Detect Atrial Fibrillation, Stanford Study Finds

The study opens up possibilities for wearables in the health system.

A study launched jointly by Apple and Stanford University School of Medicine has found that wearable technology can "safely identify heart rate irregularities." As part of the Apple Heart Study, launched in November 2017, each of the 400,000 participants wore Apple Watches, fitted with a heart-rate pulse sensors and equipped with a mobile app. In combination, the device was able to identify atrial fibrillation, a leading cause of stroke that often goes undiagnosed.

In 84 percent of cases where the wearable detected atrial fibrillation, testing confirmed the issue. Moreover, despite concerns about over-notifications, just 0.5 percent of participants were alerted to irregular heart rates.

“The results of the Apple Heart Study highlight the potential role that innovative digital technology can play in creating more predictive and preventive health care,” said Lloyd Minor, M.D., dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, in a press release. “Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning, as this study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes – a key goal of Precision Health.”

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