Over 2,000 Participants Received Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification in Apple Watch Study
Stanford Medicine researchers presented their findings of the Apple Heart Study at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo in New Orleans today, as noted by Apple in a press release.
Apple and Stanford created the study to evaluate the Apple Watch's irregular heart rhythm notification feature, which occasionally checks the wearer's heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm appears to be suggestive of atrial fibrillation.
419,093 people across the United States participated in the study. As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a phone consultation with a doctor, and an ECG patch for additional monitoring.
Study results showed 0.5 percent of participants - approximately 2,095 people - received an irregular heart rhythm notification. Apple says "many participants sought medical advice following their irregular rhythm notification."
Apple COO Jeff Williams:
We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope consumers will continue to gain useful and actionable information about their heart health through Apple Watch.
Apple announced the Heart Study in collaboration with Stanford back in November 2017 and stopped accepting new participants in August 2018.
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Top Rated Comments
Most people in the medical community agree it is better to have a false positive than a false negative because a false negative would discourage someone from seeking medical treatment and could ultimately lead to worse effects than someone seeking medical treatment for a condition they do not have.
For such a new, low cost, and non-intrusive device, I think the results of this study are actually pretty amazing.
The irregularity detected here is reported "if an irregular heart rhythm appears to be suggestive of atrial fibrillation." The software is setup by a medical team with oversight to eliminate the daily variations - A Fib is characteristically different. Even on a 12-lead ECG with Holter monitoring, the interpretation is physician based, preferably a cardiologist.
So, if 200-20 or even 2 of these detected were found with real atrial fibrillation rhythm, it is a win; these are from people with no known heart problems.
The worst a false positive does is send someone for further rhythm monitoring by a pro - worth the hassle.
The first post is sarcasm.
Not all the other 66% would be false positive since it's an intermittent condition.
* I initiated an in-app video call to an AHS cardiologist using the direct link on the notification that popped up. She interviewed me for about 30 minutes. During the interview, she discussed the study as having flagged me for single digit number of SVT events during five different 60-second measurement periods. (Supra-ventricular Tachycardia)
* They overnighted a 7-day ambulatory ECG monitor that I returned at the end of the week.
* When the results were ready, they notified me and sent another in-app video call link.
* A second video conference explained the results -- a few more instances of SVT detected. She recommended that I follow-up with a cardiologist, who was provided the monitor results. I also got pdfs of all records.
* I went to a locally recommended cardiologist, who discussed the SVT events that the watch and monitor picked up.
* He recommended I have an echocardiogram done to establish a baseline, which I did.
* There was a follow-up to discuss the results.
I guess it wasn't a false positive and it wasn't A-fib. The cardiologist seemed surprised that a fitness tracker caught it.