Researchers Are Using AI And Apple Watches To Check For Weak Heart Pumps

While Apple offers a couple of different heart-related features via its Apple Watch, the Mayo Clinic is taking this a step further by using the wearable and custom artificial intelligence to check for patients who have a weak heart pump.

Data shared at this week’s Heart Rhythm Society conference, spotted by MacRumors, shows that the clinic is working to check for a condition that can affect up to 9% of people over the age of 60. Worldwide, it affects up to 3% of people.

A weak heart pump, or left ventricular dysfunction, is an issue that affects two to three percent of people around the world, and up to nine percent of people over age 60. Like atrial fibrillation, another heart issue the Apple Watch can detect, a weak heart pump can have no symptoms. It can also be accompanied by symptoms that include racing heart beats or shortness of breath.

The study looked at 125,610 ECG results that were collected from 46 states and 11 countries over a period of six months. The data provided by those running the tests was compared with a several hundred people who also had clinical testing to see if they had a heart issue. The results allowed the clinic to decide whether the Apple Watch was capable of doing the same.

Approximately 420 patients had a watch ECG recorded within 30 days of a clinically ordered echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, a standard test to measure pump strength. We took advantage of those data to see whether we could identify a weak heart pump with AI analysis of the watch ECG. While our data are early, the test had an area under the curve of 0.88, meaning it is as good as or slightly better than a medical treadmill test. AI analysis of the watch ECG is a powerful test to identify a weak heart pump.

Researchers now say that they plan to launch more stories to allow for additional testing to be done in order to know for sure whether the ECG functionality of an Apple Watch can be trusted to find weak heart pumps.

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