Can the Apple Watch 4 accurately detect irregular heartbeats? The Cleveland Clinic finds out

Ohio

The study looked at 50 postoperative cardiac surgery patients at the Cleveland Clinic

Apple Watch 4

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic released results Tuesday after studying the Apple Watch 4’s ability to detect irregular heartbeats in wearers.

The study found that the Apple Watch 4 only identified 41% of atrial fibration (AFib) instances when only viewing the watch display.

However, the Apple Watch 4 offers a downloadable PDF that detected AFib 98% of the time.

The study looked at 50 postoperative cardiac surgery patients at the Cleveland Clinic (though two patients were discharged before the completion of the study). It compared both readings to a telemetry electrocardiogram, which measures the electrical activity of hospital patients’ heartbeats.

“A standard ECG remains the gold standard for detecting Afib,” said Dr. Marc Gillinov, the Cleveland Clinic’s chair of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. “At this point, consumer wearables and watches don’t have the accuracy to replace the ECG. A diagnosis of Afib requires input from a physician.”

The study found that the Apple Watch 4 with display only detected 34 of 90 instances of atrial fibrillation. The Apple Watch 4 with the retrievable PDF identified 84 of 90 instances.

None of the readings came back with false positives.

“The data suggests that further technological advances are necessary before these wearables can be fully incorporated into current clinical management,” says Dr. Milind Desai, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and director of clinical operations and Haslam Family Endowed Chair in cardiovascular medicine.

WKBN reached out to Apple for comment on the study but hasn’t yet heard back.

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