Apple had teamed up with Stanford Medicine to determine the role of wearables in finding out irregular heart pulses for signs of atrial fibrillation. This eight month study on 400,000 participants has yielded some new results.
The results of the study were presented in a conference at the American College of Cardiology, New Orleans. This has invited a wide range of reactions from cardiologists all over. While some have pointed to the large number of participants to be a reason for optimism, others were worried about the number of false alarms it would produce.
Atrial fibrillation affects about 6million people in the US but it often goes undiagnosed. People over the age of 65 are the category more at risk .Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health and also a physician, has said that they are trying to introduce this partnering with the medical community and that they wanted to hear about all the positive and negative aspects from the doctors
.It was found that of the total of approximately 419,000 participants, about 0.5% received an irregular heartbeat notification. Mintu Turakhia, principal investigator at Stanford Medicine finds this to be an important finding as many cardiologists have already expressed their worries on the higher false positive rates. However people who received the notification did not follow up with further for the electrocardiogram patch to confirm the diagnosis. Kumar Dharmarajan, cardiologist and chief scientific officer at Clover health insurance company explained that the people might not have found it important to go for further diagnosis as they might not have faced any bothersome symptoms. He also mentioned that the patch which is to be worn on the chest is not that appealing as the Apple watch.
It is also to be noted that of the 450 people who had worn patches, Afib was confirmed in only 34% of the cases. Bimal Shah, cardiologist and the chief medical officer of digital health company doesn’t see this to be amazing but finds it to be moderately good.
The medical community has agreed with Apple that more studies and debate are required on this. Apple’s passion and their desire to have an impact have made them do things with a thoughtful approach.