Apple’s Heart Study, the largest yet to discover the role of wearable gadgets in identifying potential heart issues, found the device might accurately detect atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.
The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), come as technology corporations more and more strike up deals with drug companies as a way to collect large amounts of real-time health information on people.
Earlier this month, Alphabet’s Google acquired the fitness tracking firm Fitbit for $2.1 billion. That followed Fitbit’s partnership in October with U.S. drugmakers Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer to develop their very own technology to identify atrial fibrillation, a condition that considerably increases the chance of stroke.
Smaller firms, including AliveCor, have paved the way. AliveCor’s KardiaBand, a smartphone accessory that may take medical-grade electrocardiograms (EKG) to detect dangerous heart rhythms, won U.S. license in 2017.
The Apple Heart Study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, examined the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor and algorithm in over 400,000 participants who used an app to sign up for the eight-month trial.
In the course of the study, merely 0.5% of participants received a warning that they had an irregular pulse, finding research authors believe ought to ease concerns that the system would result in excess of notifications in healthy members.
People flagged for an irregular pulse were sent an EKG patch to wear. Of those, 34% have been discovered to have atrial fibrillation.
Dr. Mintu Turakhia, a Stanford cardiologist and research co-author, stated the purpose was to assess how good the algorithm was and if it was safe.