Apple Watch can detect heart disease, new research finds

unknownThe Apple Watch can detect serious heart ailment with 97% accuracy, a new research report released by the University of California, San Francisco — done in conjunction with Apple found.

Each year, more than 100,000 strokes are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillationIn atrial fibrillation, electrical conduction in the heart becomes disorganisedThe disease is treatable, but many people don’t feel symptoms, so the trick is detecting it in time. 

On average, your Apple Watch measures your heart rate more than 200 times each day. Which is not a lot. But the new study wasn’t done solely with the Apple Watch’s sensor. It also relied on a custom AI algorithm built into the Cardiogram app.

There were 6,000 users recruited into the study all of whom used the Apple Watch and Cardiogram app to monitor their ticker. While most of them were known to have normal EKG readings, a couple of hundred were known to suffer from an occasional irregular heartbeat. The data from the study was then used to develop an algorithm capable of determining to a high degree of accuracy when someone is in atrial fibrillation.

“Our results show that common wearable trackers like smartwatches present a novel opportunity to monitor, capture and prompt medical therapy for atrial fibrillation without any active effort from patients,” Dr. Gregory Marcus, Director of Clinical Research at UCSF’s Division of Cardiology, said in a statement.

“While mobile technology screening won’t replace more conventional monitoring methods, it has the potential to successfully screen those at an increased risk and lower the number of undiagnosed cases of AF.”

In the future, you could imagine you smartwatch sends you a notification: “We noticed an abnormality in your heartbeat. Want to chat with a cardiologist?”

The Cardiogram app has proven to be very popular amongst those who downloaded it, the company’s co-founder Brandon Ballinger told CNBC. Some 100,000 use it every day out of 250,000 people who downloaded it to try it out.

Cardiogram organizes heart rate data from the Health app to provide you with more detail and historical trends.The Timeline tab shows your heart rate each day, with a detailed view for workouts and a special interface to track spikes related to stress, diet, or exercise. The Metrics tab shows you how your resting heart rate, activity, and sleep are trending over the last few weeks or months.

The app can be found on this link.

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