Researchers who were leading the study that was funded by Apple and involved more than 400,000 users of the Apple Watch, looked to screen and detect atrial fibrillation, a common form of irregular heartbeat. The Apple Watch was able to detect irregular heart pulse rates that could be a sign for the need for further monitoring for a serious heart rhythm problem.
Approximately 2000 of the participants of the study received notifications from their smartwatches regarding an irregular heartbeat. The researchers then sent an electrocardiography (ECG) patch to those who were notified for further detection of their abnormal heart patterns.
Eventually, a third of the 2000 patients were confirmed to have atrial fibrillation.
The data revealed that around 84 percent of the irregular pulse notifications were later confirmed to have been episodes of atrial fibrillation.
The same study also discovered that 57 percent of the participants who received an alert on their watch sought medical attention.
The results that were presented at the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans are considered as a positive sign for Apple in its efforts to introduce wearable technology across the healthcare sector.
The Silicon Valley firm first offered an ECG service on its Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018.
However, doctors have earlier expressed their concerns regarding the accuracy of the technology and have recommended that its use should be in tandem with proper consultation.
According to the NHS, atrial fibrillation affects approximately 1 million people in the United Kingdom. It also says that it can affect adults of any age. The researchers concluded that the data of the study could be used as an additional tool by doctors who are diagnosing the patients.
A lead investigator on the study, Dr Marco Perez of Stanford University, stated: “The physician can use the information from the study, combine it with their assessment…. And then guide clinical decisions around what to do with an alert.”