New Study Says Apple Watch Can Detect Abnormal Heart Rates With 97% Accuracy


Apple has not been shy when it comes to detailing, and promoting, the health benefits that it has built into the Apple Watch.

While it’s technically a smartwatch, Apple seems more than content in the knowledge that it could be sold as a health fitness tracker and that alone. So when a new study comes forward and promotes the Apple Watch as a means to keep tabs on an abnormal heart rate, it’s probably good news for the company as a whole.

That’s exactly what has happened, thanks to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco, as reported by TechCrunch. In the recent study, 6,158 participants used the cardiogram app on the Apple Watch to monitor their heart rate. Within the group, most were known to have normal readouts when studied by an EKG machine, but 200 of them suffered from what is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

This is a random, occasional irregular heartbeat.

According to the study, the Apple Watch is able to detect that abnormal heart rate with a 97 percent accuracy:

“Cardiogram tested the deep neural network it had built against 51 in-hospital cardioversions (a procedure that restores the heart’s normal rhythm) and says it achieved a 97 percent accuracy in the neural network’s ability to find irregular heart activity.

So far this is just a study built on a preliminary algorithm but it holds promise in trying to identify and prevent stroke in the future. Atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm, causes 1 in 4 strokes. Ballinger says two-thirds of those types of strokes are preventable with relatively inexpensive drugs.”

Cardiogram, meanwhile, is a startup that’s aiming primarily to gather as much health data as it can by way of the Apple Watch. This particular study started back in March of 2016, and it will continue moving forward to detect other health matters, moving beyond just the heart.

[via TechCrunch]

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