Researchers at Stanford Medicine, in collaboration with Apple, launched the Apple Heart Study last November to determine whether a mobile app that uses the optical sensor on the Apple Watch to analyze pulse rate data can identify atrial fibrillation. The condition, which is characterized by an irregular heartbeat, often remains hidden because many people don’t experience symptoms. Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.
A paper published yesterday in the American Heart Journal describes the design of this clinical trial. Led by principal investigators Mintu Turakhia, MD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine, and Marco Perez, MD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine, and by study chair Kenneth Mahaffey, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine, the trial will be the largest screening study on atrial fibrillation ever done.
“We hope this study will help us better understand how wearable technologies can inform precision health,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “These new tools, which have the potential to predict, prevent and manage disease, are finally within our reach.”
The new Apple Watch Series 4 has FDA clearance to take an electrocardiogram and to identify irregular heart rhythms. The Apple Heart Study only involves analyzing pulse data to identify atrial fibrillation and not the ECG feature. Each participant in the study is required to have an Apple Watch (series 1, 2 or 3) and an iPhone. An app on the phone intermittently checks the heart-rate pulse sensor for measurements of an irregular pulse. If sufficient episodes of an irregular pulse are detected, then the participant receives a notification and is asked to schedule a visit with a doctor involved in the study. Participants are then sent electrocardiography patches, which record the electrical rhythm of their hearts for up to a week.
“The advantage of the app that uses the optical sensor is that it can check for an irregular pulse multiple times throughout the day in the background, without needing the user to actively engage the application,” Perez said.
More details at the link below...