A new study, published in the European Heart Journal — Digital Health, has revealed that smartwatches are capable of detecting higher risks of heart failure and irregular heart rhythms. The study took into account data from 83,000 people who had undergone a 15-second electrocardiogram (ECG) comparable to the kind carried out using smartwatches and phone devices. Smartwatches from the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit are known to help keep track of heart health. Apple Watch checks for unusually high or low heart rates, while Fitbit Sense 2 has an ECG app that can detect heart rhythm irregularities and automatically share them with your doctor.
Extra Heartbeats Indicate Higher Risk
The study identified ECG recordings containing extra heartbeats, which are usually benign but, if they occur frequently, are linked to conditions such as heart failure and irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmia. People with an extra beat in this short recording (one in 25 of the total) had a two-fold risk of developing heart failure or an irregular heart rhythm over the next 10 years.
Benefit of Wearables in Detecting and Preventing Future Heart Disease
Dr. Michele Orini, the lead author of the study, said, “Our study suggests that ECGs from consumer-grade wearable devices may help with detecting and preventing future heart disease.” Wearable devices could be used to screen people for higher risk, combined with the use of artificial intelligence and other computer tools to quickly identify the ECGs indicating higher risk, leading to a more accurate assessment of risk in the population and reducing the burden of these diseases.
The study reveals that smartwatches have the potential to identify individuals at higher risk of heart disease and can serve as an effective tool for detecting and preventing heart failure and arrhythmia. With this, there is a possibility of a combination of smartwatches, artificial intelligence, and other computer tools to screen people for higher risk of these conditions. This could lead to a more accurate assessment of risk and improve healthcare outcomes for people at risk of heart disease.
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