Apple Watches have already shown their usefulness by alerting users to a heart problem, allowing rapid support – before more serious problems arise. However, it could be that the usefulness of these connected watches is reinforced with algorithms and AI.
Mayo Clinic researchers analyzed data from more than 125,000 ECGs taken with Apple Watch. Data drawn from 2,454 volunteers from the United States and 11 other countries – between August 2021 and February 2022. The data in question “were compiled and processed through a proprietary AI algorithm developed by the researchers.”
Apple Watches would be useful for detecting heart failure
All with one goal: to demonstrate the ability to draw data generated by Apple Watch sensors from new cardiac diagnostics. In particular, the researchers were interested in left ventricular failure – a condition that is usually asymptomatic but which inevitably leads to more sudden and serious problems.
Severe heart failure can turn into a chronic pathology with a vital prognosis beyond 5 years of less than 50%. As the researchers explain: “The left ventricle of the heart is primarily responsible for pumping oxygen to the most vital organs. It is therefore important to diagnose any problem with the left ventricle as soon as possible.”
However, according to the researchers, thanks to data from the Apple Watch “the AI algorithm detected patients with weak ejection […] by establishing its prediction on other ECGs corresponding to a proven insufficiency”. Therefore, researchers believe that “smartwatches have the potential to identify patients with heart failure outside of the clinical environment”.
The researchers add that the data from these watches “have the potential to assist researchers conducting remote health studies, in the initial phases of their research”. The highly respected scientific journal Nature decided to resume the researchers’ work this week. The discovery is not the only one of medical interest.
The researchers are now trying to get their algorithm validated with the FDA. If they succeeded, the researchers could legally offer an application allowing their patients to monitor any problem of heart failure and generate alerts allowing better care.
For the time being, Apple Watch alerts are limited to abnormally low or high heart rate notifications, as well as the detection of signs of arrhythmia that may suggest atrial fibrillation (AF), already making it possible to encourage the carrier to carry out more in-depth examinations.