Every now and then we come across reports of the Apple Watch saving someone’s life. Advanced heart-related functions such as the EKG have been widely recognized recently for helping to identify conditions such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). While Apple still suggests relying on approved medical devices for more accurate prognosis and diagnosis, a new study by researchers at Stanford University concludes that the Apple Watch is being used as a reliable telemedicine solution for detecting cardiovascular disease can.
Titled “Activity data from wearables as an indicator of functionality in patients with cardiovascular diseases” In the study, participants used an Apple Watch Series 3 and an iPhone 7 that ran the VascTrac app for a period of 6 months. Participants, 110 of whom were scheduled for vascular or cardiac procedures, were remotely directed to weekly 6 MWTs (6-minute walk test) at home via the VascTrac app while the two devices collected data such as daily step count.
“In this longitudinal observational study, passive activity data collected from an iPhone and Apple Watch was an accurate predictor of 6 MWT clinical performance in the clinic. This finding suggests that frailty and functioning in patients with cardiovascular disease can be remotely monitored and assessed to enable safer and better resolution monitoring of patients. “
The research paper also mentions this “Measurements based on intelligent devices that include both a 6MWT and passively collected activity data provide clinically accurate and meaningful insights into the functioning of patients with CVD (cardiovascular disease).” During the test, it was found that the iPhone and Apple Watch are capable of accurately analyzing “frailty” with a sensitivity of 90%. The paper adds that passive data collected at home predicted frailty – and therefore risk of heart disease – almost as accurately as a 6MWT at home.
“Our results show that passively collected data is almost as powerful as a 6MWT at home in predicting traditional clinic-based 6MWT outcomes (AUC 0.643).” completes the research. It also adds that data collected using devices such as the Apple Smartwatch can provide clinically meaningful and actionable insights in patients with CVD.
The main goal of the Stanford study was to show that wearable devices like an Apple Watch and smartphones can be used to collect health data that is clinically reliable. This is vital, especially at a time when medical facilities and health professionals are exposed to extreme stress and restrictions on freedom of movement have made access to medical facilities and appointments even more difficult.
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