Apple Watch spots irregular heart beat: study

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 16, 2019 - Duration: 01:35s

Apple Watch spots irregular heart beat: study

The Apple Watch was able to detect irregular heart pulse rates that could signal the need for further monitoring for a serious heart rhythm problem, according to data from a large study funded by Apple.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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Apple Watch spots irregular heart beat: study

A study presented Saturday by Stanford researchers showed the Apple Watch is able to spot irregularities in the device user's heartbeat.

The irregularity is linked to a condition called atrial fibrillation, which is often undiagnosed since it doesn't always cause outward symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the condition contributes to 130,000 U.S. deaths a year.

The Apple-sponsored study involved more than 400,000 participants and of those people about .5 percent or 2000 patients, received notification of an irregular heartbeat.

That relatively low number showed the watch didn't panic flocks of people with false alerts.

But for those who were warned and got testing done, about a third of them did indeed have atrial fibrillation.

One of the leaders of the study noted that the condition can come and go so that doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the people didn't have the condition.

The study underscores the potential future role wearable technology can have in healthcare.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook emphasized this, saying he thinks Apple's greatest contribution to mankind will revolve around health.

A cardiologist not related to the study called the results of the study a first step in understanding how new technologies can help spot life-threatening situations before they strike.

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