In a recent study, the Apple Watch was found to have a 97% success rate in accurately detecting atrial fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat yearly responsible for over 100,000 strokes.
The mRhythm study, as it was called, was carried out at the San Francisco campus of the University of California. UCSF Cardiology Health researchers and the heart health app Cardiogram came together to assess the wearable’s effectiveness in tracking Afib, as the condition is otherwise known.
The Apple Watch is already capable of tracking a user’s heart rate, information about which can be seen on watchOS 3’s Heart Rate app, pictured above. However, the device could also now, through detecting the most clinically common heart abnormality, prevent strokes and possibly save lives. This is encouraging, as Afib can too easily go undetected even in a doctor’s office.
A spokesperson for the mRhythm research told Denver 9 that Afib is often undiagnosed, as the first episode can, even in a population at high risk of the condition, take 84 monitoring days to discover. Afib can thus be found earlier if the Apple Watch continuously monitors the heart long-term.
Many more details about the methodology of the study, for which 6,158 participants were recruited, can be read on the Denver 7 website. Apple itself has fashioned the Apple Watch Series 2 as largely a health device, while the Cardiogram app is free to download for both the Apple Watch and iPhone.