The Texas Heart Institute Journal recently published new research which suggests that the Apple Watch’s ECG sensor could potentially be used to detect symptoms of a heart attack.
The ECG sensor in Apple Watch could become a beneficial tool for promoting heart health
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a non-invasive test to record heart rhythm and electrical activity. The electrocardiogram (ECG) feature was first added to the Apple Watch Series 4, back in 2018. Since then, it has been added to the Apple Watch Series 5, 6, and 7.
The sensors on the smartwatch gather real-time electric signals and convert them into a recording that can be viewed on the Watch itself, or on an iPhone. If any irregularities are detected in the readings, the Watch alerts the user to consult a doctor.
New research published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal suggests that an Apple Watch could eventually become a self-check tool for symptoms related to myocardial infarction.
If the ECG function of the Apple Watch, one of the most popular wearable devices globally, could provide a reliable analysis of MI risk when symptoms develop, it could then send a clear signal to the user to seek medical attention, thereby minimizing the delay in diagnosis and treatment.
The first diagnostic step for confirming MI is the traditional 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG). The Apple Watch uses one positive and one negative electrode to record a single-lead ECG. While researchers do not believe the Apple Watch can replace the standard 12-lead ECG, they do believe it can serve as a new MI screening tool for people at home due to its popularity.
Although other mobile ECG devices such as the KardiaMobile 6L can provide more professional recordings, the popularity of the Apple Watch and other similar devices offers a significant advantage. An estimated 20% of US residents currently own a wearable device, and the global market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25%, reaching $70 billion by 2025.
At this point, more clinical data is needed to determine the possibility of an Apple Watch being able to detect early signs of a heart attack. There are also many limitations to consider. With further research into the matter, it is believed that the Apple Watch can become a prominent tool for promoting cardiac health.