Apple Watch can recognize heart failure thanks to ECG and AI

Smartwatch and smartband are not just expansions of our smartphone, which allow you to always have notifications at your wrist. Wearables, by their nature, have a vocation for health monitoring, and over the years the spectrum of their applications has expanded more and more: from simple heartbeat to measuring the level of oxygen in the blood (SpO2) and on the ECG, for example.

For the next Apple Watch in these hours we have returned to talk about the possibility that the body temperature detection function will arrive. And although the Cupertino watches are not the best equipped in this regard – for example, the blood pressure detection present on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 but also on the previous models is missing -, they are however the most widespread and most used by researchers. to investigate the possibilities that this type of device can offer in the medical field.


The latest development in this sense was brought by the Mayo Clinic researchers which, as explained in a research just shared, have created an algorithm governed by Artificial Intelligence that can work with the ECG function of the Apple Watch.

The data collected from the single-lead electrocardiogram of the watch, in fact, if processed by the algorithm developed by the scholars, allow to identify heart failure..

A result that, if further confirmed, could be particularly relevant: heart failure – or left ventricular dysfunction – is in fact a common problem, affecting 2 to 3% of the world population and up to 9% of individuals with an age over 60 years. It is a disorder that, like atrial fibrillation, is difficult to detect as it can also be asymptomatic.

Paul Friedman, chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, expressed his enthusiasm, explaining that an echocardiogram, a CT scan, or an MRI is usually required to obtain these results.


The Apple Watch ECGlike that of other smartwatches, it is less accurate than the standard one because a single derivation: that is, it is based on the reconstruction of a trace starting from a single point of contact, that of the finger against the crown of the watch. A Professional ECG instead uses 12 electrodes which are placed on an individual’s chest, arms, and legs to detect electrical signals from the heart.

The researchers then took an algorithm dedicated to identifying heart failure that already existed, but which worked with standard ECGs, and rewrote it to work with Apple Watch detection.. The study included as many as 125,610 ECGs collected over six months from 46 states and 11 countries. The results were great – the algorithm, once applied to the Apple Watch ECG recordings, proved itself a more effective diagnostic tool than a medical treadmill test.

Since these are very sensitive issues, however, further studies are planned to provide further comfort to these first positive outcomes. In general, these achievements in science and technology do not aim at replacing traditional exams, but rather at further democratizing the right to health with low-cost and always at your fingertips solutions.

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