Apple’s Heart app Can Identify Irregular Heart Rhythms

Apple launched the Apple Heart Study app, a first-of-its-kind research study using Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify the users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation (AFib).AFib, the leading cause of stroke, is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations in the US each year. Many people don’t experience symptoms, so AFib often goes undiagnosed.

To calculate heart rate and rhythm, Watch’s sensor uses Green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photo diodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist. The sensor’s unique optical design gathers signals from four distinct points on the wrist, and when combined with powerful software algorithms, Watch isolates heart rhythms from other noises. The Heart Study app uses this technology to identify an irregular heart rhythm.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. said “Every week we receive incredible customer letters about how Apple Watch has affected their lives, including learning that they have AFib. These stories inspire us and we re determined to do more to help people understand their health,” “Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science.”

Study shows that if an irregular heart rhythm is identified, participants will receive a notification on their Watch and iPhone, a free consultation with a study doctor and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional screening. The Heart Study app is available in the US App Store to customers who are 22 years or older and have a Watch Series 1 or later.“Through the Heart Study, Stanford Medicine faculty will explore how technology like Watch’s heart rate sensor can help usher in a new era of proactive health care central to our Precision Health approach,” said Lloyd Minor, Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine. “We’re excited to work with Apple on this breakthrough heart study.”

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