Study Suggests Apple Watch Can Accurately Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

According to a new study published today by the University of California San Francisco, the Apple Watch may be able to accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea.

The study was conducted in partnership with Cardiogram, a company that developed an app that breaks down heart rate data collected by the Apple Watch. The discovery potentially opens up the ability for the device to be used as a long-term research tool for these conditions.

The University of California surveyed a total of 6115 participants with an Apple Watch that used the Cardiogram app. Cardiogram co-founder Brandon Bollinger said that a neural network called “DeepHeart” was used to sift through the data for 70 percent of the study participants to diagnose the remaining 30 percent.

In a interview, Cardiogram co-founder and study lead Johnson Hsieh told TechCrunch:

“The idea here is that by screening continuously you would identify people with hypertension who might not know they have it. Thenm you’d guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment.”

Sleep apnea was detected with a 90 percent accuracy. Hypertension was diagnosed with an 82 percent accuracy.

Cardiogram says that peer-reviewed clinical research will be necessary to further determine whether wearables are able to screen for major health conditions like sleep apnea and hypertension, but the research results will be translated into future Cardiogram features.

Cardiogram previously used the same neural network and Apple Watch data to determine that the Apple Watch is able to detect abnormal heart rate rhythms with 97 percent accuracy.