Apple Watch Users More Likely to Have Medical Procedures on Their Heart, Study Finds

Apple Watch users with an irregular heartbeat are not visiting doctors more often, but they are more likely to be treated with a heart procedure, a study has found (via The Verge).

apple watch series 6 product red back
The study examined 125 people with atrial fibrillation and a heart-monitoring wearable, such as the Apple Watch, who visited the University of Utah Health during a 90-day period, and compared them to a group of 500 people with the same condition and similar characteristics, but no wearable.

The results of the study showed that users with heart-monitoring wearables are not more likely to visit a doctor about a health condition with their heart. In spite of this, users with a wearable and a heart condition such as atrial fibrillation are more likely to undergo medical procedures.

Specifically, this group of wearable users was more likely to undergo an ablation, which is a medical procedure that seeks to restore a normal heartbeat.

It is not clear if the people in the study who wore wearables and had ablations had worse symptoms than the control group and so needed the treatment as a result, or if the wearables encouraged them to see a doctor and have the procedure sooner.

It may simply be the case that people with heart conditions who decide to wear an Apple Watch do so due to general concerns about monitoring their health. It is also possible that wearable users could see their device detecting an abnormal heartbeat more often and therefore they worry that their atrial fibrillation is getting worse, even when it is not.

The Apple Watch and similar health-monitoring wearables are the focus of a growing number of studies in the medical field, where they have been used to investigate COVID-19, frailty, cognitive health, heart failure, asthma, and more.

Tag: health
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Expos of 1969 Avatar
9 months ago
So basically a meaningless study. Very small sample group and maybe this and maybe that.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spyguy10709 Avatar
9 months ago

As a personal anecdote, my Apple Watch ( needlessly? ) put me in the OR. I have had very mild arrhythmia for a few decades. My Apple Watch's ECG caught an episode of V-tach, which I showed to my doctor. He sent me to a cardiologist, who then sent me to an electrophysiologist. He took one look at the ECG and scheduled me for a heart study with possible ablation. This resulted in a ~$15,000 procedure which discovered that my heart was just fine. They were unable to recreate the arrhythmia in the cath lab and sent me home.

So I suppose my Apple Watch helped me rule out a potentially fatal heart disorder, but in this instance, ignorance would have been just as good and considerably cheaper.

what are you doing with an apple watch, but no health insurance?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
9 months ago
Obviously Apple Watch shouldn’t take the place of going to a doctor. But it’s nice that it can alert users to possible heart issues that would’ve otherwise went unchecked.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Duane Martin Avatar
9 months ago
As this is MacRumors let me be the first to blame the Apple Watch, Tim Cook, Apple, and lefties in general for causing people who wear Apple Watches to require more medical procedures.

Twice my Apple Watch has notified me of a high heart rate while not exercising. I have seen my doctor and though no problem was identified he thought it was pretty handy that I got the notification, told me to keep an eye on that. It also reacted when I fell on some ice this past winter. Pretty amazing tool.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kuro Avatar
9 months ago

As a personal anecdote, my Apple Watch ( needlessly? ) put me in the OR. I have had very mild arrhythmia for a few decades. My Apple Watch's ECG caught an episode of V-tach, which I showed to my doctor. He sent me to a cardiologist, who then sent me to an electrophysiologist. He took one look at the ECG and scheduled me for a heart study with possible ablation. This resulted in a ~$15,000 procedure which discovered that my heart was just fine. They were unable to recreate the arrhythmia in the cath lab and sent me home.

So I suppose my Apple Watch helped me rule out a potentially fatal heart disorder, but in this instance, ignorance would have been just as good and considerably cheaper.

I had a reasonably similar experience, except in my case during my electrophysiology study they confirmed that I had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which was corrected with an ablation. Very glad to have caught and dealt with it before it became a problem.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattspace Avatar
9 months ago
People who can afford a relatively expensive economic-want device that monitors their heart, can also afford the repeated doctor, specialist, and surgeon procedures that lead to surgery on their heart.

The study is showing the improved (*edit* increased) medical outcomes of affluence in a user-pays-healthcare society.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

health ios15

Apple Unveils New Health App Features Like Walking Steadiness, Trends, Lab Results, Health Sharing, and More

Monday June 7, 2021 11:11 am PDT by
Apple is bringing new features to the Health app that aim to make it easier to identify, measure, and understanding health changes over time. Mobility tracking will soon capture a new Walking Steadiness metric to assess your fall risk, by measuring speed and evenness of gait. Apple will leverage the data to generate a classification of your steadiness and how it changes over time. Apple...
Kardia Band apple watch

AliveCor Files Antitrust Suit Against Apple for Preventing Third-Party Irregular Heart Rhythm Analysis on Apple Watch

Wednesday May 26, 2021 10:34 am PDT by
AliveCor, a company that that has developed an ECG 'KardiaBand' for the Apple Watch, today filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple that accuses the Cupertino company of "monopolistic conduct." According to AliveCor, Apple's decision to exclude third-party heart rate analysis providers from the Apple Watch has harmed AliveCor and impacted patients and consumers. To go along with the...
apple watch 6s 202009

Apple's Wearables Shipments Increasing, but Losing Market Share to Smaller Competitors

Thursday May 27, 2021 7:41 am PDT by
Apple's shipments of wearables continued to grow year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, but the company lost overall market share to smaller rivals, according to newly-published IDC data. Companies shipped a total of 104.6 million units in the first quarter of this year, marking a 34.4 percent increase from the 77.8 million units shipped at the same time last year. This is also the first ...
apple watch ecg

Apple Launches Study into Whether Apple Watch Can Detect COVID-19

Wednesday April 14, 2021 4:51 am PDT by
Apple is launching a study into whether the Apple Watch can be used to detect respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus or flu, in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study. Apple initially announced the study at its Time Flies event in September last year, it but has only recently launched, as spotted by Apple Insider.The goal of the study is to see if the...

FDA Says Risk of MagSafe Interference With Pacemakers is Low

Friday May 14, 2021 11:11 am PDT by
Earlier this year, three doctors in Michigan found that iPhone 12 models can "potentially inhibit lifesaving therapy in a patient" due to the MagSafe system causing magnetic interference with implantable medical devices, like pacemakers. Following its own testing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week announced that while certain newer cell phones, smart watches, and other...
prosser green apple watch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Two Major Upgrades

Wednesday May 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 is rumored to feature two main upgrades, according to recent reports. The first significant change is a completely new design. Last year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the 2021 Apple Watch would undergo a redesign. Now, leaker Jon Prosser has revealed renders purporting to be of that new design based on leaked real-world images and CAD files from a...

Biogen Launches Study to Find Out if Apple Watch and iPhone Can Detect Declining Cognitive Health

Monday January 11, 2021 9:25 am PST by
Biotechnology company Biogen today announced the launch of a new Apple Watch study in partnership with Apple that is aimed at investigating the role the iPhone and Apple Watch might play in monitoring cognitive performance and screening for decline in cognitive health. The multi-year study will launch later this year and will enroll both young and aging adults with a range of cognitive...
prosser apple watch series 7

Prosser: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Flat-Edged Design, New Green Color Option

Wednesday May 19, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 will feature a flat-edged design, similar to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, and the addition of a new green case color option, according to Apple leaker Jon Prosser. In a video, Prosser explains that Apple is looking to redesign the Apple Watch, which has featured the same design since its launch, with the Series 7 later this year. One of the most striking ...

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how the company strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Max), an updated low-end MacBook Pro, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...
apple college discounts

Apple Walks Back UNiDAYS Verification Requirement for U.S. Education Store

Friday January 21, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple began requiring that customers taking advantage of educational discounts in the United States verify their status as a teacher, student, or school staff member through UNiDAYS. The requirement was a major change as Apple had never asked customers to go through a verification process in the United States before, and now, just three days after verification was added,...