Apple recently unveiled its Watch Series 4 at the Special Event held on September 12. Apart from the improvements like better performance, larger screen, it had an outstanding feature which has garnered a huge response from people and medical professionals. We are talking about the Electrocardiogram (ECG) feature which allows the user to detect his/her ECG through electrode connected to the back of the watch.
Apple successfully obtained 2 certifications from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been able to detect a potential heart condition called atrial fibrillation with an accuracy rate of 98 percent. The Watch 4 uses an electrode mounted to the backside of the watch that detects heart rate among other metrics. ECG detects if the heart rate is normal or too fast or too slow or irregular which could be a potential case of AFib.
That’s where Apple Watch Series 4 comes into play which could detect. AFib and alerts the wearer informing the abnormality or irregularity of the heart rate. According to Apple, it conducts an ‘Apple Heart Study’ in a congregation with Standford Medicine where the study began last year in November and ended in early September 2018 showing an accuracy rate of 98 percent overall. Further, 588 people took part in the study where half or 294 people had AFib while the other half didn’t have it.
When the results came in, the searchers got to know that the technology detected existence of AFib in those who had it a 98 percent accurate while it detected the absence of AFib with an accuracy of 99 percent. The research paper was produced to FDA after which, the watch received Class II certification. But that’s not all. There could be a potential downside of having such a crucial feature in a popular consumer device as it could trigger panic and anxiety among users even if they didn’t have AFib.
According to the Class II Certification, the Watch 4 can be used to diagnose a potential condition using a single electrode which the ECG equipment that one could find in health facilities have a huge number of electrodes that provide an accurate details suings its complete set of machinery.
According to physicians, it could be a great feature for those who might have a condition but haven’t realized it but in turn, it can also increase the footfall in health centers and clinics with people stating the results shown in the ECG captured by their watch and thus, it will also burden the already taxed up health care system especially in the United States.
John Mandrola, a cardiologist at the Baptist Health in Louisville mentioned how the ECG captured could send a hoard of Apple Watch users towards the clinics because people do get scared for their life. This would start a chain of tests and then few more tests in an attempt to narrow down the problem or detect and treat the problems such as AFib.