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Heart patients will be soon able to monitor their atrial fibrillation with Apple Watch

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple hosted its WWDC 2022 on Monday
  • Apple announced updates to iOS 15, watchOS, and more.
  • The watchOS brings a host of features to the Apple Watch such as a dedicated tool for runners, new strokes for swimming, and more.

Apple hosted its WWDC 2022 on Monday

Set your smartwatch alarm. You’re about to be barraged by tons of hype about the health benefits of the Apple Watch. Unfortunately, it won’t include essential information and data that can put these claims in proper perspective.

Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted how an Apple Watch detected a rapid heartbeat in an 18-year-old girl, who said the device saved her life. Now, with the presentation on Saturday of findings from an enormous Apple Watch study at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, the hype meter is about to go to 11.

Apple announced updates to iOS 15, watchOS, and more.

The heart monitoring feature on the Apple Watch may lead to unnecessary health care visits, according to a new study published this week. Only around 10 percent of people who saw a doctor at the Mayo Clinic after noticing an abnormal pulse reading on their watch were eventually diagnosed with a cardiac condition.

The finding shows that at-home health monitoring devices can lead to over-utilization of the health care system, said study author Heather Heaton, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, in an email to The Verge. That may be expensive for patients and for the system as a whole, and it may take up doctor and patient time unnecessarily.

Why Early Detection Matters

Put simply, atrial fibrillation is a chaotic electrical activity in the heart’s upper chambers.

“Instead of beating in a coordinated fashion, the atria quiver like a bag of worms,” explains Christine Albert, MD, chair of the Department of Cardiology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

If AFib persists, blood can pool in the heart, blocking blood flow to organs and setting patients up for the stroke, heart attacks, and cognitive decline. While it is generally more common in men, AFib generally impacts women’s quality of life more.For some, it’s so intermittent that it’s hard to detect. For others, it’s a chronic part of daily life.

Left unchecked, it can lead to scarring in the heart, which is hard to reverse.

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