Apple Watch users with heart issues get more medical procedures, but don’t overwhelm doctors with worried calls

According to the results of a new study, Apple Watch users with irregular heartbeats aren’t overwhelming doctors with worried calls, but they are more likely to be treated with a heart procedure called an ablation, the analysis found.

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 or later sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib, is identified.

Nicole Wetsman for The Verge:

The study looked at 125 people with atrial fibrillation who visited University of Utah Health during a 90-day period and who mentioned using a wearable including an Apple Watch or a Fitbit. The team compared them to a group of 500 people with the same condition who didn’t use a wearable but had similar characteristics — including age, socioeconomic status, and the amount of times they typically went to see a doctor.

“The people who were wearing wearables didn’t necessarily call into the office more,” [study author Libo Wang, a cardiology fellow at the University of Utah School of Medicine], says. That was a welcome surprise, he says: many doctors were worried that they’d get more calls from worried patients who had on a device like an Apple Watch…

But people with wearables did have more medical procedures done during those three months. Specifically, this group was more likely to have an ablation, a type of procedure that creates scars in the heart to restore a normal heartbeat…

It’s not clear from this study if the people who wore wearables and had ablations actually had more severe symptoms than the control group and needed the treatment, or if the wearables nudged them to see a doctor prematurely.

MacDailyNews Take: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? More, wider ranging study on this issue required as this study was small, looking at patient visits from only one hospital.

1 Comment

  1. My watch kept barking at me about AFib. Doctor had me wear a portable ECG monitor for two days. Sure enough my watch was right. I’ve been put on Eliquis (blood thinner) to prevent clots due to the AFib

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