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Apple Watch is not able to detect atrial fibrillation (AF) above 120bpm; failures reach 60%

Apple Watch measuring heart rate. Source: The VergeApple Watch measuring heart rate. Source: The Verge

During submission to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) from Apple Watch, Apple recognized that its smartwatch cannot detect AFiB (Atrial fibrillation) when the heart rate measurement exceeds 120 bpm (beats per minute). In a recent report it was found that the device fails to detect the condition, where there is an error ranging from thirty to sixty percent of the measurements made. AF occurs when the heart rate is irregular (fluctuating) or when the beat is accelerated, causing poor blood circulation.

Apple most of the time will always be careful to make clear the limitations of the watch to detect AFib. The Fortune website even mentioned this:

"Apple () openly indicates that its smartwatch" is not constantly looking for AFib "and that" people with AFib may not receive a notification "."

However, Fortune says that the watch's inability to detect AFib occurs when the user's heart rate exceeds 120bpm.

"AFib typically has a heart rate of 100 to 175 beats per minute (bpm), according to Clnica Mayo. In 2015, a study published in the Annals of Medicine found that in a cohort of 2,821 patients with recently started AFib, the average heart rate was 109 bpm, but according to the study, about a third of patients had a heart rate above 120. In addition, some of these patients were receiving beta-blockers, a drug therapy commonly used to control the rate AFib symptoms As beta blockers cause a direct decrease in heart rate, this patient population may have a slower heart rate than would be typical for a group of untreated patients, resulting in an underestimation of the true heart rates of AFib for a larger population.

In another recent clinical study published in Circulation, the researchers examined the Apple Watch's ability to detect AFib in a group of post-cardiac surgery patients, a common complication after this procedure. The study found that the Apple Watch detected the abnormality in only 34 out of 90 cases – an accuracy of only 41%. "

A study shows that Apple Watch is not able to detect AFib in one third of cases. The other study shows that the failure rate can reach 59%.

The problem with this limitation is due to the possibility that the person creates a false sense of security. There is a risk that the user suspects that he may have a problem, but rest assured if the Apple Watch does not report anything.

Apple decided not to have its smartwatch certified by the FDA to detect AFib above 120bps.

Anyway, if you suspect that you may have a problem with fast heartbeat or irregular heartbeat, see a doctor, do not wait for the Apple Watch to report something.

Source: 9to5mac

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