AI researchers use Apple Watch data to check for silent heart condition
Mayo Clinic researchers recently used an artificial intelligence algorithm to check if people’s hearts were pumping blood correctly to the rest of the body.
To do this, they took ECG data from Apple Watches of users in 11 countries who signed up for the study via email.. In six months, more than 125,000 ECGs were recorded by the clinic.
They looked for a condition known as low ejection fraction, in which the heart pumps less blood than normal with each beat.. The condition is linked to heart failure and remains undetected with no signs or symptoms. “Left ventricular dysfunction – a weak heart pump – affects 2-3% of people worldwide and up to 9% of people over the age of 60,” said Paul Friedman of the Mayo Clinic. in a report.
How was the study conducted?
After signing up for the study via email, participants downloaded an app that transferred watch ECGs in the background for six months. More than anything else, the study highlights the use value of wearable devices like Apple Watches as tools with diagnostic potential.
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“About 420 patients had a watch ECG recorded within 30 days of a clinically ordered echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, a standard test for measuring pump strength. We took advantage of this data to see if we could identify a weak heart pump with AI watch ECG analysis Although our data is early, the test had an area under the curve of 0.88, which means it is as good as or slightly better than a medical treadmill test. AI analysis of the watch’s ECG is a powerful test for identifying a weak heart pump,” said Itzhak Zachi Attia, the lead artificial intelligence scientist at Mayo Clinic.
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A smartphone application was developed as part of this study. 2,454 patients with an iPhone, the dedicated application and an Apple Watch series 4 or later participated in the study. “It is absolutely remarkable that AI turns a consumer watch ECG signal into a detector of this condition, which would normally require an expensive and sophisticated imaging test, such as an echocardiogram, CT scan or MRI,” Friedman added.
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