Apple Watch Can Detect Abnormal Heart Rhythm with 97% Accuracy: Study


New research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with Apple Watch app Cardiogram, shows Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor can aid in the detection of abnormal heart rhythm.

Abnormal heart rhythm, medically referred to as atrial fibrillation, is a common heart arrhythmia that can lead to stroke. As part of ongoing research, a deep neural network (DNN) was trained and paired with Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to automatically distinguish atrial fibrillation from normal heart rhythm in a number of test patients.

In order to train the neural network, researchers collected 139 million heart rate measurements and 6,338 mobile ECGs from 6,158 Cardiogram app users that were also enrolled in the UCSF Health eHeart Study. The DNN was validated against a test sample of 51 patients scheduled to undergo treatment.

When compared against a 12-lead electrocardiogram reference, the resulting Apple Watch and DNN solution was found capable of identifying AF with an accuracy of 97 percent.

Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Ballinger said about 200 participants with diagnosed paroxysmal atrial fibrillation took part in the study. These patients were provided a mobile electrocardiogram and tasked with taking one reading per day.

[via TechCrunch]


  • jackie

    Can OHIP cover the cost of an Apple Watch then.? This could save lots of lives and reduce heath care cost.

  • Josh

    Are there apps that can monitor this because the apple watch heart rate app does not.

  • Tim

    After reading this I found an app for iPhone called ‘Photo Afib Detector’, it’s free in the app store. I tried it a few times and it didn’t find anything (which was expected). A quick look through some studies seems to suggest that measuring heart rate/detecting abnormal rhythm with the camera/led (photo) technique is fairly reliable. I think the Apple watch measures heart using light as well, though may be more accurate as this sensor is specifically designed for this kinda thing.