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Apple’s App Can Identify Irregular Heart Rhythms

Apple’s App Can Identify Irregular Heart RhythmsApple’s App Can Identify Irregular Heart Rhythms

Apple launched its Heart Study app on Thursday, which uses the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on a wearer’s heart rhythms and then notify them if they might be experiencing atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

This technology could be important for detecting a condition that does not always show symptoms. In the US, approximately 750,000 hospitalizations and 130,000 yearly deaths are a result of AFib, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNet reported.

The watch’s sensor calculates heart rate and rhythm using green LED lights that flash hundreds of times per second. Light-sensitive photodiodes detect how much blood is flowing through the wrist.

The sensor then collects signals from four points on the wrist, and, combined with software algorithms, the watch can isolate heart rhythms from other “noise.” Using this method, the Apple Heart Study app can identify an irregular heart rhythm.

Apple is partnering with Stanford Medicine to conduct the research. “Working alongside the medical community, not only can we inform people of certain health conditions, we also hope to advance discoveries in heart science,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, in a statement.

If an irregular rhythm is detected with the Hearth Study app, a person gets a notification on their Apple Watch and their iPhone, as well as a free consultation with one of the study’s doctors.

 

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