The Apple Watch may soon be able to diagnose a new heart condition, heart pump failure. To achieve this, American researchers have developed an algorithm boosted with artificial intelligence.
The Apple Watch embeds a series of sensors capable of monitoring the state of health of its wearer. The connected watch is notably equipped with a heart rate monitor, which continuously measures the pulse of its user, andan electrocardiogram (ECG).
Present since the Apple Watch Series 4, this tool is able to record the rhythm and intensity of the electrical signals behind the heartbeat in order to identify irregularities. The watch can thus determine the presence of a atrial fibrillationa rhythm that is too high and fast, resulting from a desynchronization of the atria of the heart.
Apple Watch’s ECG may soon be able to diagnose a new heart disease
Despite its strengths, the Apple Watch is not able to identify all heart diseases, such as left ventricular failure. This heart pump failure is usually caused by a narrowing of the aorta, high blood pressure or a birth defect.
In order to enable the watch to aid in the diagnosis of this heart failure, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned teaching hospital, developed an algorithm. Doped with artificial intelligence, this algorithm is capable of transforming the Apple Watch into a real medical measuring device. No need for an echocardiogram, CT scan or MRI to detect the disease before it is too late.
According to the clinic’s researchers, “2-3% of people worldwide and up to 9% of people over 60” are affected by heart pump failure. Very often, the symptoms are harmless and imperceptible. “It may have no symptoms or be associated with shortness of breath, swelling in the legs or irregular heartbeats”, explain the researchers. Insufficiency increases the risk of heart attack and heart attack.
To test the viability of their technology, the researchers organized a large study with 2,454 participants from eleven countries. An app provided by the researchers analyzed data provided by the ECG from the testers’ Apple Watch. More than 125,000 electrocardiograms have been analyzed.
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With the algorithm, the Apple Watch has been shown to be particularly reliable in detecting heart pump failure. The algorithm is “as good or slightly better than a treadmill medical test”underlines the report of the doctors. “This test demonstrates that we can obtain medically useful information”, concludes the clinic. We bet that Apple will integrate this new algorithm into its watches in the near future.