- A wearable wristwatch technology
tracks the heart's electrical activity and notifies patients with atrial
fibrillation of their heart rate status.
- Placing a finger on the wristwatch
tells the user if the heart rate is normal or indicative of atrial
- This technology may help screen
patients prior to scheduling electrical cardio-version
procedures and avoid scheduling ones that are unnecessary.
A novel wristband technology and a
corresponding smartwatch app displays the heart's electrical activity and
notifies patients with atrial fibrillation of their heart rhythm, according to
data presented at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific
Session. The wearable technology tells the user if the heart rate is normal or
indicative of atrial fibrillation. It helps patients know if they are having an
acute episode which can drastically improve treatment and outcomes.
Atrial fibrillation and its management
Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
is a type of
heart rhythm disorder where the heart beats irregularly and often rapidly.
During atrial fibrillation, the heart's upper chambers beat chaotically and out
of coordination with the lower chambers of the heart. This condition increases
a patient's risk for heart
failure stroke and other heart-related complications. It affects about 9
percent of people over the age of 65 in the U.S alone.
Patients with AFib
either choose to opt for a pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator to normalize
the heart rhythm. However, these methods can be expensive and are invasive.
Most patients choose for a scheduled electrical cardio-version, a procedure which applies an electric
shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm. The procedure is often done under
some type of sedation or anesthesia.
Why it is better than a heart rate monitor
- Records even a single lead electrocardiographic (ECG)
tracing, allowing the user to visualize the heart's electrical activity,
including the rate and regularity of heartbeats.
- At any time, the patient can place
a finger on a spot on the wristband and the smartwatch algorithm will
instantaneously tell the reader about the heart rhythm; if it's normal, indicative of AFib
or undetermined. In case of undetermined readings, coupling it with
physician's review could reliably differentiate between AFib and normal
- It is cost effective when compared
to pacemakers and implantable defibrillators.
are exposed to a growing number of health care devices that are available for
purchase without a prescription. What we don't know is if these devices provide
meaningful clinical information that patients and their physicians can
interpret and use effectively," said Joseph Bumgarner, MD, an
electrophysiology fellow at Cleveland Clinic and the lead author of the study.
"Our study is the first to assess how accurately a wearable smartwatch
device can identify AFib or normal sinus rhythm compared to a standard 12-lead
ECG as is often done in the clinic."
‘New wristband technology when combined with a smartwatch app can track heart rhythm and notify patients with atrial fibrillation if their heart rate is normal of AFib.’
The study enrolled
100 patients aged 68 years on average with AFib who consecutively presented for
a scheduled electrical cardio-version. People who had a pacemaker or implanted
were excluded from the study.
was given a smartwatch equipped with the wristband technology and coached
on how to use it. The participants also underwent a standard ECG. The team then
compared the automated smartwatch interpretations with the physician-reviewed
standard ECG and cardiologists determined how accurate the wristwatch readings
- When the algorithm was able to
provide a diagnosis (normal heart rate or AFib), it detected AFib with 93
percent sensitivity and 84 percent specificity.
- 34.9% of the readings from the
watch were classified as an undetermined. When these non-interpretable
readings were coupled with a physician's review, AFib was correctly
diagnosed with 100 percent sensitivity and 80 percent specificity.
"Out of the
box, the smartwatch band and its algorithm were very good at identifying AFib,
but when coupled with a physician's interpretation of the recording [as it
should be used], it became even more clinically useful," Bumgarner said. "Its
accuracy was comparable to the standard 12-lead ECG that we use in our clinic
- ECG on smartwatch accurately detects AFib - (https://scienmag.com/ecg-on-smartwatch-accurately-detects-afib/)