Apple Watch can be used to accurately detect ‘frailty’

A new study by Stanford University has proven that Apple Watch can be used to measure its wearer’s ‘frailty’. The study was backed by Apple, and was conducted to understand how accurately can Apple Watch asses ‘frailty’, which is often defined as a medical condition that can impact the quality of life with age.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch can accurately detect frailty

The study was published in PLOS ONE. Participants were given an iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 3 and had to use VascTrac app to submit a 6-minute walk test (6MWT) from their home. 110 participants enrolled in the study, which continued for 6 months, and the results showed that Apple Watch was able to track frailty accurately.

Under a supervised in-clinic setting, the smartphone and Apple Watch with the VascTrac app were able to accurately assess ‘frailty’ with sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 85%. Outside the clinic in an unsupervised setting, the home-based 6MWT is 83% sensitive and 60% specific in assessing “frailty.” Passive data collected at home were nearly as accurate at predicting frailty on a clinic-based 6MWT as was a home-based 6MWT, with area under curve (AUC) of 0.643 and 0.704, respectively.

The results showed that 6MWT performance could be used to monitor frailty early, which in turn could be used to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases and help them with a safer lifestyle.

In this longitudinal observational study, passive activity data acquired by an iPhone and Apple Watch were an accurate predictor of in-clinic 6MWT performance. This finding suggests that frailty and functional capacity could be monitored and evaluated remotely in patients with cardiovascular disease, enabling safer and higher resolution monitoring of patients.

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