Researchers from Stanford Medicine have published preliminary findings from their Apple Heart Study which involved over 400,000 participants. The researchers found that wearable technology such as the Apple Watch can be used to safely identify people who have an irregular heart rhythm which gives them time to seek medical help.
Discussing the study, Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, said:
“We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope consumers will continue to gain useful and actionable information about their heart health through Apple Watch.”
Describing the key findings from the study, Stanford Medicine said that 0.5% (around 2,000 participants) of all those involved with the study received a notification that they had irregular heart rhythms. While Apple Watch didn’t get it right all of the time, the researchers found that 84% of those who got a notification were found to be in atrial fibrillation at the time of the notification; this means that notifications from Apple Watch are a strong indicator of a problem. As a result of the detections, 57% of those who were notified decided to follow up with medical attention to get the problem looked into further.
While the study had a huge amount of participants it should be noted that the Apple Heart Study was funded by Apple. While this shouldn’t nullify the findings, more research into whether wearables are effective for detecting atrial fibrillation is needed.