Apple Watch users may actually be able to detect symptoms of a heart attack through their watches. According to research published by the Texas Heart Institute Journal earlier this month, the Apple Watch could help identify heart attacks through the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors the watches already comprise.
In the journal, the researchers discussed that the topic requires more development, but the Apple Watch holds the potential to become a self-check tool for users. Heart attacks or myocardial infarctions (MI) have become increasingly common in the U.S., with someone experiencing it almost every 40 seconds. If treatment is received quickly, the chances of survival increase by more than 50%, thus, early detection could help save the lives of millions of people.
Apple states that the device is unsuitable for detecting MI, as it only provides single-lead information, whereas professional diagnosis requires a 12-lead ECG. The research shows the potential of Apple Watches, specifically Series 4, 5, 6, and 7 models as they possess the ECG sensors, to provide multiple leads for an MI diagnosis. It explains that leads I, II, and III are essential in the traditional method of ECG diagnosis. Since Apple uses lead I, it only requires the other two, which can be obtained using different body parts.
The research states,
“The watch could be placed on the left lower abdomen, the left thigh, or the left ankle, and lead II could be recorded by placing the right index finger on the crown of the watch; lead III could be recorded in the same manner by placing the left index finger on the crown”
The researchers note that the accessibility of this approach needs to be considered, as the Apple Watch is not supposed to be a substitute for clinical procedures.