Over 2,000 Participants Received Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification in Apple Watch Study

Stanford Medicine researchers presented their findings of the Apple Heart Study at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo in New Orleans today, as noted by Apple in a press release.



Apple and Stanford created the study to evaluate the Apple Watch‘s irregular heart rhythm notification feature, which occasionally checks the wearer’s heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm appears to be suggestive of atrial fibrillation.

419,093 people across the United States participated in the study. As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a phone consultation with a doctor, and an ECG patch for additional monitoring.

Study results showed 0.5 percent of participants – approximately 2,095 people – received an irregular heart rhythm notification. Apple says “many participants sought medical advice following their irregular rhythm notification.”

Apple COO Jeff Williams:

We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope consumers will continue to gain useful and actionable information about their heart health through Apple Watch.

Apple announced the Heart Study in collaboration with Stanford back in November 2017 and stopped accepting new participants in August 2018.

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This article, "Over 2,000 Participants Received Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification in Apple Watch Study" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Watch Heart Study Involved 400,000 Participants

Stanford Medicine has published more details about the future of the Heart Study program it conducted in partnership with Apple, in which it attempted to reliably detect atrial fibrillation in Apple Watch wearers.

The condition, which is characterized by an irregular heartbeat, often remains hidden because many people don't experience symptoms. Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.


According to Stanford, the study involved 400,000 participants, making it the the largest screening program for atrial fibrillation ever conducted. A paper has also been published in the American Heart Journal describing the unique design of the clinical trial.

Enrollment began in late 2017 and closed in August. Although some participants were informed in September that their participation in the study was complete, Stanford says it will continue to collect and collate data until early next year, which is consistent with Apple's original announcement.
"We hope this study will help us better understand how wearable technologies can inform precision health," said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. "These new tools, which have the potential to predict, prevent and manage disease, are finally within our reach."
The FDA cleared two Apple Watch medical apps in September. One app uses data from the Apple Watch Series 4 to take an ECG by touching the button on the side of the device. The second app uses data from an optical sensor available on the Apple Watch Series 1 and later to analyze pulse data and identify irregular heart rhythms indicating atrial fibrillation. The Apple-Stanford Heart Study used the second app.

Each year in the United States alone, atrial fibrillation results in 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that the condition affects between 2.7 million and 6.1 million people. In addition, another 700,000 people may have undiagnosed atrial fibrillation.


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Apple Heart Study Ends for Some Early Participants Ahead of January Completion Date

Over the weekend, Apple informed some users who signed up to its Apple Watch Heart Study that their contributions were complete.

An app notification thanked them for their participation and asked them to complete an exit-survey about the study, which first launched in November 2017.

The study in collaboration with Stanford Medicine was offered to anyone in the United States who was 22 years older with an iPhone 5s or later and an Apple Watch Series 1 or later. Atrial fibrillation, a common form of heart arrhythmia that is covered in the study, can indicate serious medical conditions like heart failure and stroke.

Participants were instructed to download and install the Apple Heart Study app and wear their Apple Watch. When an irregular heart beat is detected, a consultation with a Study Telehealth provider from American Well is offered, with some people asked to wear an ePatch monitor for up to seven days for further investigation.

Apple closed the study to new participants at the beginning of last month. In a prior announcement, Apple said the study would not end until January 1, 2019, but it looks as though the participants who received the notifications over the weekend all enrolled early, suggesting that data collection is winding down over stages as the end date approaches.

Rumors have suggested that 2018 Apple Watch Series 4 models will include enhanced heart rate detection features that could improve the smartwatch's ability to detect diseases linked to higher heart rates and abnormal heart rhythms, but what form the enhanced heart rate features will take remains unclear.

Design wise, the Apple Watch Series 4 looks similar to the Series 3 models, but the display will be bigger, allowing more space for watch faces and complications, as confirmed last week in an image leaked by Apple.

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Apple Closes Apple Watch Heart Rate Study to New Participants

Apple and Stanford University's School of Medicine are no longer allowing new participants to join the joint heart rate study that they're conducting using data gathered from the heart rate monitor of the Apple Watch, according to an updated notice on the Apple Heart Study website.

As of August 1, 2018, an enrollment termination date Apple and Stanford first announced when the study launched, enrollment is officially closed. While enrollment has ended, the study does not end until January 31, 2019, and Apple plans to continue collecting data from current participants until the completion of the study.

Note: Enrollment for this study is closed to new participants as of August 1, 2018. If you are currently enrolled, your participation will continue until the end of the study.
The Apple Heart Study is designed to use data from the Apple Watch to identify irregular heart rhythms to determine whether the wrist-worn device can accurately detect life-threatening conditions like atrial fibrillation.

The study was previously open to anyone in the United States who was 22 years older with an iPhone 5s or later and an Apple Watch Series 1 or later.

Participants were instructed to download and install the Apple Heart Study app and wear the Apple Watch. When an irregular heart beat is detected in a study participant, a consultation with a Study Telehealth provider from American Well is offered, with some people asked to wear an ePatch monitor for up to seven days for further investigation.

One MacRumors reader shared his story using the Heart Rate Study app and the accompanying patch after an abnormal rhythm was detected:
I believe that many of you don't understand just how much effort and expense Apple has spent on developing this research program. I signed up late last year, and several weeks ago they notified me that they had read an irregular heart rhythm on my app.

I called them, talked to a Dr. on line, they sent me a state of the art medical monitor the size of an Apple watch which is applied with a sticky tape over my heart for 7 days, I kept it attached for a week, sent it back (post payed) and they contacted me within 3 days, they had me contact one of their research Drs. who went over the results of the week long monitor, they saw no further arrhythmia, and gave me confidence that the earlier abnormal pattern was not a problem, readings showed my heart strong, and healthy.
With the study now closed to new participants, the Apple Heart Study app has been removed from the App Store. Apple has also removed its dedicated Apple Heart Study webpage from its site.

Apple's Heart Rate Study in collaboration with Stanford Medicine first launched in November 2017. Atrial fibrillation, a common form of heart arrhythmia that is covered in the study, can indicate serious medical conditions like heart failure and stroke. Afib affects millions of people but often goes undiagnosed, with the study aiming to determine if the Apple Watch is able to alert people of this dangerous condition and accompanying health problems.

Other studies conducted by the team behind the Cardiogram app and researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have suggested that the Apple Watch is able to detect an abnormal heart rhythm with 97 percent accuracy. It may also be useful in detecting early signs of other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.


Currently, the heart rate monitor built into the Apple Watch (Series 1 models and later) will send an alert if a faster-than-normal resting heart rate is detected, a feature that has saved multiple lives. This heart rate monitoring option can be activated by opening up the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, selecting the heart rate app, and setting your high heart rate notification to the desired level.


While the Apple Watch sends alerts for a high heart rate, it does not notify people of abnormal rhythms or other issues that have been detected, but that could change in the future depending on the outcome of the study.

Rumors have suggested that 2018 Apple Watch Series 4 models will include enhanced heart rate detection features that could bolster the Apple Watch's ability to detect diseases linked to higher heart rates and abnormal heart rhythms, but it is not entirely clear what the enhanced heart rate features consist of.

New Apple Watch models, which are expected in September alongside the 2018 iPhones, are also said to include a new design with a 15 percent larger display.

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Apple Watch Owners Can Participate in Apple Heart Study to Identify Irregular Heart Rhythms

Apple today announced it has launched a ResearchKit-based Apple Heart Study app, which uses the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation.


As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm is identified, participants will receive a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a free consultation with a study doctor and an electrocardiogram (ECG) patch for additional monitoring.
"Every week we receive incredible customer letters about how Apple Watch has affected their lives, including learning that they have AFib. These stories inspire us and we're determined to do more to help people understand their health," said Jeff Williams, Apple's COO. "Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science."
To calculate heart rate and rhythm, the Apple Watch's sensor uses green LED lights flashing hundreds of times per second and light-sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist.

Apple is partnering with Stanford University's School of Medicine to perform the research.
"Through the Apple Heart Study, Stanford Medicine faculty will explore how technology like Apple Watch's heart rate sensor can help usher in a new era of proactive health care central to our Precision Health approach," said Lloyd Minor, Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine. "We're excited to work with Apple on this breakthrough heart study."
While heart arrhythmias aren't always symptoms of a serious disease, atrial fibrillation is a leading cause of stroke, which can lead to death. Many people don't experience symptoms, so it often goes undiagnosed.

The Apple Heart Study is rolling out on the App Store in the United States today to customers who are 22 years or older and have an Apple Watch Series 1 or later. The app itself requires an iPhone running iOS 11 or later.

Apple says the study is not intended for people who already have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter during the enrolment process.

This announcement follows news that AliveCor has received FDA approval to sell its medical-grade Kardia Band for Apple Watch, which can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation, in the United States.


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