Conference Coverage

Apple Watch algorithm brings wearables closer to clinical practice



The portability, convenience, and the mobile health care that wearable technology achieve is clearly being described in the Apple Heart Study, Matthew W. Martinez, MD, medical director of the Sports Cardiology and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa., said in a video interview.

The Apple Heart Study, presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated a mobile app that uses the watch’s existing light sensor technology to detect subtle changes that might indicate an arrhythmia.

The Apple Watch generates a tachogram, which is a plot of time between heart beats. If an abnormal tachogram occurs five out of six times, they are analyzed by an algorithm and sent to the Apple Watch.

The positive predictive value for the tachogram was 71%, and the positive predictive value for the notification was 84%.

Dr. Martinez, who is lead cardiologist for U.S. Major League Soccer and is also heavily involved with the National Football League, said that the study helps clinicians understand the utility of wearable technology.

His take home from the study is that, when people are notified by their watch, they should notify their health care provider, and the provider should take it seriously.

Dr. Martinez was not involved in the Apple Heart Study, and had no relevant disclosures.

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