Recently, Stanford University’s School of Medicine partnered for an Apple Heart Study that tracked 419,093 Apple Watch owners (not the Apple Watch Series 4) using the built-in ECG feature.
The study revealed that .5 percent of all of the participants were alerted that they had an irregular heartbeat. This works out to be about 2,000 people. The School of Medicine presented the findings during the 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo for the American College of Cardiology.
WHAT THE STUDY FOUND
The study, as reported by Stanford’s School of Medicine, found that the Apple Watch’s ECG recordings had a 74 percent positive prediction value and, 84 percent of the time, those who received the notification were found to be in a state of atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is defined as an irregular, often rapid heart rate that can cause poor blood flow. This condition is more common in those who are over the age of 40, and the condition may have no symptoms whatsoever. Treatment may include medications, electrical shocks, or sugary that is usually minimally invasive.
Stanford came to their conclusions after about 34 percent of the participants were given an ECG patch to monitor their pulse rates for a week. The ECG often confirmed the atrial fibrillation.
WHY THE FINDINGS ARE IMPORTANT
Many people aren’t very confident that wearable technology like the Apple Watch can actually help improve health. However, this study seems to confirm that this sort of technology could have a bright future in the health industry.
As mentioned in the definition, many people suffering from atrial fibrillation may not have any symptoms or warnings of this issue. Atrial fibrillation, if gone untreated, can lead to differed heart-related diseases and issues like strokes, blood clots, and heart failure.
If people are willing to don watches and other wearable technology that can track simple health stats such as heart rate, step count, and temperature, they could be alerted to a potentially deadly condition.
OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME
To begin, Apple is clear in advertising that the watch shouldn’t be used as a medical diagnostic tool. The access that the user has to their health stats can actually cause them to panic about their health when there is no reason to panic. The bottom line is that the technology is not at a point where it can flag medical issues, but several notifications can be cause to see your doctor.