Stanford University Research Reveals Apple Watch Can Spot Irregular Heart Rhythm
For more than a year, Apple Watch-based research was conducted by Stanford University in order to figure out whether the device can detect heart issues. The results appeared to be promising even though they can’t be completely accurate.
400,000 volunteers took part in the study but only 0.5 % of device users were warned by Apple Watch that their heart rhythms are irregular. Later on, medical practitioners revealed that 84 % of the notifications concerned episodes of atrial fibrillation, which are signs of the potential development of health issues.
In other words, the technology appeared to be capable of avoiding an abundance of false positives, which are undoubtedly the main concern of the research. Besides, it appeared to be reliable enough for the volunteers to make a move and schedule a consultation with a doctor.
Those who received alerts agreed to wear an ECG patch for a week and 34 % out of them did show irregularities. About 57 % of the volunteers who saw the warning consulted with a doctor.
It’s important to note that the study used Apple Watches from Series 3 and earlier. Series 4 appeared somewhat later so with its built-in ECG it couldn’t be used for the research. The app was mainly aimed at periodic checks by means of the heart rate sensor for getting notified if something doesn’t function properly.
The results that were revealed in the course of the study can’t be fully relied upon. While 84 % is a figure high enough to make the findings trustworthy, a sixth of those who received warning notifications might have no grounds for concern. Besides, it is also possible that people who have atrial fibrillation didn’t receive a notification.
The good thing is that the results of testing the Apple Watch device are positive and, hopefully, Apple will continue pushing deeper in the health service.