Apple masses the biggest heart study ever

“When Apple released the Apple Watch Series 3 late last year, the company telegraphed its growing interest in health with the groundbreaking abilities of the device’s heart-rate monitor and optical sensor,” Danny Vena writes for The Motley Fool. “The device’s ability to take heart measurements during workouts, in recovery, and at rest was simple enough. The icing on the cake is its ability to detect a spike in heart rate that typically accompanies atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib.”

“Apple took this a step further, partnering with Stanford University to launch the Apple Heart Study, an investigation to determine how accurately the Apple Watch could detect these irregular heartbeats, which can be a warning sign of an oncoming stroke,” Vena writes. “No one could have foreseen the staggering response.”

“A recent issue of the American Heart Journal illustrates the power of Apple’s brand and the simplicity of its approach. Based on the Journal‘s reporting, the Apple Heart Study enrolled a massive 419,093 participants, making it the largest investigation of its kind ever fielded,” Vena writes. “The sheer mass of the study was important to researchers, as bigger is generally better when it comes to investigations of this type — the larger the sample size, the narrower the margin of error for the study. Stanford Medicine researchers say that the study is in the final stages of data collection. Results should be available early next year.”

Touching the Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown completes the circuit and electrical signals across the heart are measured.
Touching the Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown completes the circuit and electrical signals across the heart are measured.

Apple Watch Series 1 or later with watchOS 5.1.2 sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib, is identified.
Apple Watch Series 1 or later with watchOS 5.1.2 sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib, is identified.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is just the beginning for Apple Watch!

ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification available today on Apple Watch – December 6, 2018
Over 400,000 Apple Watch users participated in the Apple Heart Study with Stanford – November 2, 2018
New study shows Apple Watch is accurate at detecting irregular heartbeats – March 21, 2018
Apple Heart Study launches to identify irregular heart rhythms – November 30, 2017
AliveCor’s Kardiaband EKG reader becomes first Apple Watch accessory to win FDA approval as a medical device – November 30, 2017
Apple Heart Study could turn Apple Watch into a ‘must have’ for millions of patients – September 12, 2017
Apple Watch the most accurate heart rate monitor in new fitness tracker study – May 24, 2017
Apple Watch helps doctors detect the leading cause of heart failure with 97% accuracy – May 12, 2017
Apple patents advanced heart rate monitor for Apple Watch – October 6, 2016
Apple Watch heart rate data vs. Mio dedicated heart rate monitor – May 7, 2015


  1. … the promised blood-sugar analysis option. A stroke may kill me or leave me disabled, but the evils of diabetes are far worse. My Fitbit keeps tabs on my heart rate but offers no ‘history’ or diagnostics.

  2. It’s really nice to hear Apple is investing so much into health-tracking devices as the financial geniuses say the health market such a huge market. Will Apple finally get into some business that WS claims to have unlimited growth potential? Of course, Apple is still going to have to sell plenty of iPhones as AppleWatch needs to sync with iPhones, which is a bit of a drawback. I’m sure there must be people who would find it useful for AppleWatch to sync with Android smartphones.

    It’s a bit amusing how AppleWatch was quickly called a failed product when it was first introduced. I wonder if AppleWatch gets more respect as the newer generations are offered. I truly wish Apple could find a way to get non-invasive blood-sugar measurements for diabetic patients but that must be something almost impossible to do or else some other company would surely have come up with a solution by now. I’m rather baffled why Apple would have even mentioned the AppleWatch being able to take blood-sugar readings in the past when the solution doesn’t seem to be anywhere in the near future.

    I hope Apple keeps working on all sorts of health measurement devices for consumers. That’s something that everyone could use. It’s just that Apple devices will always cost higher than any other company’s devices and it will be difficult for the average consumer to afford them. It’s probably the poorest consumers who need those health-tracking devices the most.

    1. I have no doubt that Apple is working on a blood sugar monitor for the watch, most likely in the early stages of research, but you need a deep pocket company with a need to make it happen.

  3. Comparing the Apple Watch to a Fitbit is like comparing a BMW to a tricycle. The thing is that the Apple Watch has so much more built into it than can currently be touted medically, because it has to pass testing to make claims. As the Apple Watch 1 can now detect A-fib, the Apple Watch 4 has a lot more built into it and will accept software updates to unlock these capabilities with each Watch OS build out. The analysis of this huge data set from Stanford will add massive capability to the Apple Watch 4. The same type of study is going on in multiple fields. The watch will revolutionize preventative and self-procured medical care. For those concerned about price, it is only a matter of time where you will be given a watch by insurance companies and principles of upcoming clinical research. The device is just too good a monitor of daily physical parameters to not be used. Yes, bloodless blood sugar readings will be fabulous, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. The Apple Watch now and future generations will be the personal medical device of hundreds of millions of people, just like the iPhone is a phone, but is really a computer, the watch tells time, but it will become THE device for hacking our bodies.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.