New Apple Watch’s ECG feature can detect more underlying heart issues

“The new iPhone models were quickly relegated to second tier headlines after Apple’s latest product announcement,” Heather May Morgan writes for The Conversation. “More people seem to be excited about the fact that the new Apple Watch will come with a built-in heart monitoring electrocardiogram (ECG) function.”

“The Apple Watch 4 will be the first mainstream wearable gadget to integrate this kind of medical diagnostic technology,” Morgan writes. “We shouldn’t ignore concerns that an ECG test in a commercially available watch could encourage many people to make additional trips to the doctor when they have recorded any anomalous activity. A rush of gadget-adorned people descending on clinics demanding services is a worry. But many people already self-diagnose conditions or agonize about symptoms unnecessarily, often caused by using the internet and other technology. Those who do use the Apple Watch ECG may well include large numbers of ‘worried well.’ But the impact of uncontrolled use of ECG technology seems likely to be limited for the moment, especially as many people will still simply be unable to afford it.”

“Ultimately, we are living in a digital age and healthcare has so far been slow to revolutionize,” Morgan writes. “We should be harnessing technology to improve healthcare.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier this month:

We bet that millions with undiagnosed AFib far outnumber hypochondriacs, but, even if they didn’t, the lives saved plus the research potential of having millions of people contributing ECG information to medical studies (with Apple, it’s always opt-in, of course) will far outweigh some unnecessary checkups.

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Apple Watch saves another person’s life: ‘It would have been fatal’ – October 16, 2017
How my Apple Watch saved my life – July 25, 2016
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  1. As a medical doctor, I can very confidently say that this will *help* hypochondriacs, and likely weigh heavily in favor of catching undiagnosed arrhythmia vs causing false positives.

    There is no cure for hypochondira. Regular reassurance is part of the normal course. This is exactly what the Apple Watch will provide.

  2. Until a few (factual) pamphlets are out, it will be overused by hypochondriacs and even misunderstood by aging and even younger users. Good factual explanations of what the watch does and does not do under particular or specific circumstances is needed.

    I recently purchased a new vehicle with lane change and collision warning system. It was EXPLAINED well by the salesman. My wife and I appreciate that technology and we were rewarded with a decrease in insurance cost due to the technology. (There has been a decrease in accidents with vehicles with this technology.) However, I have dialoged with many who do not like it – they turn it off. It was not explained well to them and they found their vehicle doing things that they were not expecting.

    I feel people who do not correctly understand the technology of the Apple Watch may misuse it, or even stay away from it from fear.

    Looking forward to getting an Apple Watch in the near future. Wife has a 3, but I am sure she would like a 4, as she does have a few more health issues (diabetes) that I do.

  3. As a side note, the NIH/CDC stated about 2010 that the ONLY way we are ever going to reduce healthcare costs is by:

    1. Prevention &

    Waiting until a crisis occurs often leads to a chronic condition. Let’s hope we get more and more early home test methods.

  4. I was in my mid 30’s when I was diagnosed as being in a constant state of AFib. Only reason I even knew was I went in for a kidney stone. I assumed I was out of breath going up stairs and had a hard time hiking up hills because I was just out of shape. After getting a corrective procedure it’s been just life altering. I wish I knew sooner.
    I also with I had the new Watch back then. I had to carry arround the Kardia iPhone pad (which I’m thankful I had).

    On that note…. isn’t it better for anyone with hypochondriac tendencies to see right away if nothing is wrong, rather than stress out, wait for an appointment, waste the time of a doctor or ER, all to find out it was a false alarm (or be paranoid it just stopped but was real)? There have been times the kardia pads glued to a iPhone case helped me figure out I’m fine, when I suspected I’m not. And that’s when I had it with me. I haven’t had an issue in years, but I’ll be glad to have this tool right on my wrist just in case.

  5. I don’t worry about hypochondriacs over-reacting to their ECG. They will be able to show their doctor the test strip that has been saved on their iPhone and their doctor can gently explain that this strip is normal. Hypochondriacs do have to pay for their visits and I think they will move to another, less expensive health problem. Statistically there will a some hypochondriacs who are having AFibs and will happily vindicated. Like the guy who had a great line carved on his tombstone “I told you I was sick”.

    For the rest of us the ECG is the first med app in a group of helpful information. Heart/COPD patients will go for PulseOx and Diabetics will go for noninvasive Blood Glucose. These are tests/data that is now available and would benefit from continuous, inexpensive monitoring.

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