Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 28

Novel Algorithm on Wearable Devices Can Detect
Irregular Heartbeat, May Prompt Early Care
The algorithm was able to
accurately detect irregular
heart rhythms, indicating
possible atrial fibrillation.
American Heart Association
Dallas, TX
A novel software algorithm compatible
with a wide range of smartwatches and
fitness trackers detected irregular heart
rhythms and accurately identified undiagnosed
atrial fibrillation (AFib) 98 percent
of the time, according to research
presented at the American Heart Asso -
ciation's Scientific Sessions 2021.
Many smartwatches and fitness trackers
can detect the wearer's pulse rate using
light sensors. Researchers developed a
novel software algorithm to analyze pulse
rate signals and infer the presence of atrial
fibrillation on one brand of wearables.
The algorithm operates during periods
of inactivity and uses a process that ex -
amines continuous and overlapping
episodes of pulse information from the
wearable device to analyze for an irregular
heart rhythm. The algorithm requires
at least 30 minutes of sensing irregular
heart rhythms to indicate the presence of
possible atrial fibrillation.
" Undiagnosed atrial fibrillation can
lead to strokes, and early detection of atrial
fibrillation may allow doctors to prescribe
medications that are effective at
preventing strokes, " says Steven A. Lubitz,
MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine
at Harvard Medical School and cardiologist
at the Massachusetts General
Hospital in Boston.
In this study, conducted from May
through October 2020, investigators
from Massachusetts General Hospital
and fitness wearable manufacturer
FitbitĀ® remotely enrolled more than
455,000 adult smartwatch or fitness tracker
users in the United States. None of the
study participants had a self-reported
prior diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. The
average age of the participants was 47
years; 71 percent were female; and 73
percent were white. The data from their
devices were analyzed using the novel
software algorithm.
Participants who had an irregular heart
rhythm detected by the software algorithm
28
Cov
copyright American Heart Association
Four chambers of the heart: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle. (Credit: American
Heart Association)
were notified and invited to schedule a
visit with a telehealth professional. After
meeting with the telehealth doctor, participants
received a one-week electrocardiogram
(ECG) patch monitor to wear along
with the smartwatch or fitness tracker.
The analysis found that the novel
software algorithm was able to successfully
detect atrial fibrillation, and the
findings were consistent across age
groups. Specifically:
* Irregular heart rhythm detection
occurred in 1 percent of individuals
overall and 4 percent of adults older
than 65 years.
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* Among individuals who received notification
of an irregular heart rhythm, 32 percent
had atrial fibrillation detected on a
subsequent ECG patch monitor.
* The ECG patch confirmed atrial fibrillation
in 98 percent of individuals who had
another irregular heart rhythm detection
while wearing the ECG patch monitor.
* For participants over 65 years old, a subgroup
at elevated risk for stroke caused
by atrial fibrillation, the algorithm corresponded
to concurrent AFib 97 percent
of the time.
" These results show that wearables have
the ability to identify undiagnosed atrial
Medical Design Briefs, January 2022
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Medical Design Briefs - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Medical Design Briefs - January 2022

Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Intro
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Sponsor
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1a
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1b
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov1
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov2
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 1
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 2
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 3
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 4
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 5
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 6
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - 7
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Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov3
Medical Design Briefs - January 2022 - Cov4
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