A New Study From The Mayo Clinic Shows That Apple Watch Can Help Find A Heart Condition That Could Kill You

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are examining whether an Apple Watch’s ECG functionality can aid in the early detection of heart issues, including left ventricular dysfunction. Congestive heart failure, which can result in a variety of cardiac problems, is typically the next step in the course of left ventricular malfunction of the heart. The main task of the left ventricle is to deliver oxygen to the body’s critical organs. It is crucial to identify any issues with the left ventricle as soon as possible.

Mayo Clinic Looks To The Apple Watch To Help With Heart Health

The Mayo Clinic notes that one issue is that patients with heart dysfunction sometimes go misdiagnosed since they frequently don’t exhibit symptoms (asymptomatic.) Therefore, Mayo Clinic researchers looked at the possibility of using the Apple Watch ECG to aid in the diagnosis of left ventricular dysfunction.

Heart Failure Is A Growing Global Health Problem

A global pandemic, heart failure (HF) affects at least 26 million individuals globally and is becoming more common. The costs of HF healthcare are high and rise sharply as the population gets older. The quality of life is low, and mortality and morbidity are still high despite major improvements in medicines and prevention.

That is one of the reasons biomedical and technology businesses are collaborating to test new approaches to quickly identify heart problems. Although single-lead electrocardiograms from smartwatches have not yet been tested for their ability to detect cardiac dysfunction, which is defined as ejection fraction (EF) 40%, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are capable of doing so using 12-lead electrocardiograms (ECGs).

About This New Study, “Prospective Evaluation Of Smartwatch-Enabled Detection Of Left Ventricular Dysfunction.”

This is a groundbreaking study since the single-lead ECG functionality of the Apple Watch was used by the researchers to gather the data and analyze it to detect left ventricular failure. 2,454 patients from 46 US states and 11 other countries were digitally recruited by the researchers.

Between August 2021 and February 2022, they used their Apple Watches to send 125,610 ECGs to the data platform. The researchers’ in-house AI technology was used to scrub and process the ECG data from the Single lead enabled Apple Watches.

The AI algorithm identified individuals with low ejection fraction using the mean prediction within a 30-day window or the closest ECG to the echocardiography that calculated the EF, with the area under the curve values of 0.885 (95% confidence interval 0.823-0.946) and 0.881 (0.815-0.947), respectively.

These results suggest that nonclinical consumer-watch ECGs can detect patients with heart dysfunction, a potentially fatal and frequently asymptomatic illness. Another implication is that smartwatches’ ability to help with conducting distant digital health studies is still in its infancy.

This week, Nature Medicine published the findings of this ground-breaking clinical trial. Because it contains and is protected by proprietary intellectual property (patent pending), which has been licensed and is undergoing FDA review, the code behind the AI algorithms itself cannot be released.

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