You may have a serious heart condition and not know it. Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib) prevents blood from properly pumping through your heart.
It affects 2.7 million people, many who don't know they have it. A-Fib is an arrhythmia that can cause blood clots.
People with A-Fib account for one out of four strokes. They're also more likely to have dementia, kidney problems and other health conditions.
The problem is, it's difficult to diagnose A-Fib without continually monitoring your heart for days or weeks. A-Fib can occur only from time to time, so you may not have symptoms when you're seeing your doctor. There are often no noticeable signs.
However, there's good news. It turns out that a smartwatch and an app can potentially save your life by detecting A-Fib with about a 97 percent accuracy rate. That's based on testing patients before and after undergoing a cardioversion procedure to restore a normal heart rhythm.
The study was conducted with more than 6,100 people. It tapped into the photoplethysmographic (PPG) sensors that are found in many smartwatches. You may be using them to track your heart rate while exercising, for example.
In this study, more than 139 million heart measurements were taken. They used an Apple Watch and the Cardiogram app. They essentially taught the app to learn how to detect A-Fib.
“While mobile technology screening won’t replace more conventional monitoring methods, it has the potential to successfully screen those at an increased risk and lower the number of undiagnosed cases of AF," said senior author, Gregory M. Marcus, MD and Director of Clinical Research for the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, in a statement.
The results of the study were recently presented at the Heart Rhythm Society’s 38th Annual Scientific Sessions. More studies are needed before a smartwatch app for A-Fib will be widely available.
Who do you know would benefit from this smartwatch app? Please share this important health news with them now.
Bonus: Get the Cardiogram app here