The findings from the Apple Heart Study have been published by Stanford Medicine

The findings from the Apple Heart Study conducted by Stanford Medicine have been released. According to the findings, only 0.5 per cent, or approximately 2,000 of the total 419,297 individuals, received notifications of an abnormal cardiac rhythm.

About a year ago, in conjunction with the announcement of Apple’s fourth model smartwatch and watchOS 4, the project was kicked off. The purpose of this study was to investigate, among other things, how well Apple Watch can detect the early warning signals of atrial fibrillation.

The participants were given access to a mobile application called Heart Study that used algorithms to distinguish heart rhythms from other types of noise. In the event that an abnormal cardiac rhythm was detected, the participant was given a complimentary consultation with a physician as well as an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring.

The Chief Operating Officer of Apple at the time, Jeff Williams, stated that the company was “glad to cooperate with Stanford Medicine as they perform this important research” and that they were “looking forward to understanding more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community.”

We have high hopes that Apple Watch will continue to provide users with information that is both helpful and actionable regarding their cardiovascular health.

The findings of the study were revealed earlier on in this year at the 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo that was held by the American College of Cardiology. However, they were not published in The New England Journal of Medicine until just recently.

After 117 days of surveillance, the findings indicated that approximately 0.5 per cent of the people who took part in the study were notified of an abnormal cardiac rhythm, while the percentage increased to 3 per cent for those over 65. This is equivalent to 2,161 different people.

Eighty-four per cent of those individuals’ subsequent notifications were verified to be caused by atrial fibrillation once they returned the ECG patch that could be tested (this accounted for around a quarter of them). This would suggest that the Apple Watch can be utilised for the aforementioned goal. However, the patch was unable to pick up on some of the atrial fibrillation that the watch had identified because it occurred too infrequently. Due to the fact that this may be an indication of the condition in its earlier stages, it does not necessarily suggest false positives.

“Among participants who were notified of an irregular pulse, the positive predictive value for observing atrial fibrillation on the ECG simultaneously with a successive irregular pulse notification was 0.84 (95 per cent CI, 0.76 to 0.92) and the positive predictive value for observing atrial fibrillation on the ECG concurrently with a subsequent irregular tachogram was 0.71 (97.5 per cent CI, 0.69 to 0.74). 57% of the 1376 participants who were alerted and who answered the survey after 90 days indicated that they had contacted health care providers outside of the study. There were no complaints of major adverse effects that were attributed to the app.

Due to the fact that some persons with AFib may not experience any symptoms, the disorder is frequently misdiagnosed. Some people report experiencing symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, and weariness. The first of these two categories is the one that is considered to be in the greatest danger.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 per cent of persons aged 65 and older have atrial fibrillation, while only about 2 per cent of Americans under the age of 65 have the condition. Therefore, despite the fact that the results of the Apple Heart Study are outstanding, one can deduce from the statistics that the watch did not detect all cases of the condition.

Having said that, it is still going to end up saving lives even if the technology is not precise one hundred per cent of the time. Apple claims that more than half of the people who took part in the study sought medical counsel after receiving the news of their abnormal rhythm.

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