Can the Apple Watch accurately detect atrial fibrillation? Yes, a very large study, just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirms.
The Apple Watch study was truly enormous, with 419,297 subjects monitored for about 4 months. Only a company like Apple, with a popular product like its watch, can even hope to recruit this many people to join a study. The idea was pretty simple: use the Apple Watch to detect an irregular pulse, which might be sign of atrial flutter or arrhythmia.
During the course of the study, 2,161 subjects had at least one report of an irregular pulse, about 0.5% of the total. Each of these subjects was then sent an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch, which they were supposed to wear for several days to determine if they really were having arrhythmias… Overall, the Watch was surprisingly accurate, with an impressively low false positive rate.
[Apple Watch] behaves like an ECG monitor on your wrist. The NEJM study didn’t use this feature of the Apple Watch, which suggests that the watch could be even more effective as a heart monitor in the future.
MacDailyNews Take: And this is only the very beginning for Apple Watch (and AirPods and future Apple wearables)!