Apple and Stanford release full results from of Watch heart study

Alfred Osborne
March 19, 2019

Apple announced late Friday that Stanford Medicine had reported the results of the Apple Heart Study, the largest study ever of its kind, which enrolled over 400,000 participants from all 50 states in a span of only eight months. The condition often remains hidden because many people don't experience symptoms.

We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. Stanford described this as "an important finding given concerns about potential over-notification".

The data revealed that around 84 percent of the irregular pulse notifications were later confirmed to have been episodes of atrial fibrillation.

The study's results underscore the importance of diagnostic cardiac-monitoring devices such as iRhythm's Zio patch, which is prescribed by a doctor, Lewis wrote.

But Apple's next step, involving the Watch Series 4 and its ECG function, will be key, with pressure to strike the ideal balance between offering further heart information, and not scaring wearers into visiting the hospital for no reason. 2,000 participants, or 0.5% of those using the smartwatch, received notification of an irregular pulse beat.

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Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine released its preliminary results of its Apple Heart Study, which indicated the wearable technology can identify heart rate irregularities.

"Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning, as this study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes - a key goal of precision health", Minor said. The Apple Heart Study app intermittently checked the heart-rate pulse sensor for measurements of an irregular pulse.

57% of Apple Watch users in the study sought medical help when they received a warning about an irregular pulse. Participants were then sent ambulatory ECG patches through BioTelemetry, which recorded the electrical rhythm of their hearts for up to a week. "The virtual design of this study also provides a strong foundation upon which future research can be conducted to explore the health implications of wearable technology".

Among the study's findings: A third of the participants who got EKG monitoring through the study had atrial fibrillation - the irregular heartbeat that can lead to potentially deadly problems like blood clots and strokes.

These findings suggest that there's great potential in the use of wearable devices to help people keep track of atrial fibrillations, which is an abnormal heart rhythm that's known as one of the leading causes of stroke and heart disease.

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