Apple Watch Could Check for Heart Attack Symptoms, Research Suggests

The Apple Watch could be used to check for symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction), research published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal suggests (via MyHealthyApple).

apple watch ecg wrist
Myocardial infarction occurs when parts of the heart muscle do not receive enough oxygen because there is a block in the blood flow to the heart. Researchers from the Texas Heart Institute have been studying using the Apple Watch to help diagnose myocardial infarction symptoms using the electrocardiogram (ECG) feature on Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6, and 7 models to record multiple ECG leads on different parts of the body.

Outcomes following a heart attack depend on how long before treatment begins. More than half of individuals with myocardial infarction die in an emergency room or before reaching a hospital within an hour of the onset of symptoms. The Apple Watch could provide a reliable analysis of heart attack risk when symptoms develop, send a clear signal to the user to seek urgent medical attention, and reduce the delay to get treatment, the research suggests.

Medical professionals usually confirm myocardial infarction using a traditional 12-lead electrocardiogram that requires specific equipment and professional training, while the Apple Watch uses a positive electrode on the back of the device and a negative electrode on the Digital Crown to record a single-lead ECG. As such, the Apple Watch could not replace hospital-grade medical equipment, but provide a new screening tool for other environments.

The researchers claim that the Apple Watch shows promise for detecting myocardial infarction as multiple studies have shown that the device can record multiple-lead ECG signals that accurately detect the ST change during a heart attack. Additional clinical data is required, but the ongoing research provides a glance at one of the new health-monitoring capabilities that could one day be an official Apple Watch feature.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Tag: ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

fel10 Avatar
24 months ago
My hypochondriac ass needs this
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
24 months ago

The AW is not a medical device. Never trust your health to a consumer grade toy watch.
It’s been proved times and times again that the single lead Apple Watch ECG is as accurate as hospital machines.

Clearly, you need several leads to fully diagnose the problem, but one is enough to become aware of it in the first place.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Leon Ze Professional Avatar
24 months ago
This is what makes the Apple watch special. Good stuff keep up the great work Apple.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BobSc Avatar
24 months ago

The AW is not a medical device. Never trust your health to a consumer grade toy watch.
Incredibly ignorant statement.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
siddavis Avatar
24 months ago

It’s been proved times and times again that the single lead Apple Watch ECG is as accurate as hospital machines.

Clearly, you need several leads to fully diagnose the problem, but one is enough to become aware of it in the first place.
I wish I could give this 10 thumbs up. I am what I would consider a quite healthy, middle aged man. My Apple Watch alerted me that something was not right with effectively no physical symptoms. The next day, my doctor was able to accurately diagnose a heart condition that I have and I am now under the care of a cardiologist. I am OK, but it will be something to monitor for the rest of my life.

I never once thought of it as a doctor on my wrist, but rather an additional tool.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiranmk2 Avatar
24 months ago
The world needs to rethink medical device testing and approval as it just takes too long. In the past I get it that it would need a long time as studies would probably only have a few thousand participants at best, but when using widely owned consumer hardware such as the Apple Watch it would be much easier to get millions of people into clinical tests. It saddens me to think how many people are going to die unnecessarily purely because approval takes so long.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)