Apple and Johnson & Johnson to evaluate risks of blood clotting for Afib patients

Apple Watch Heartline study

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) was made available on the Apple Watch starting with Series 4. Apple’s work with Stanford via Apple Heart Study demonstrated the ability of the Apple Watch to detect atrial fibrillation.

Subsequently, Johnson & Johnson and Apple launched a new Heartline study to dive deeper into Apple Watch’s afib detection capabilities and its impact on heart health.

Related reading:

About the Heartline research study

The Heartline™ Study is a research study from Johnson & Johnson in collaboration with Apple. 

The study aims to analyze the impact of an app-based heart health program with Apple Watch on the early detection of irregular heart rhythms consistent with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and the potential to improve heart health outcomes, including reducing the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular conditions.

In a new update published in the American Heart Journal this month, the Heartline study researchers are trying to answer an important question :

Does Early detection of Atrial Fibrillation reduce the risk of thromboembolic events?”

Afib and blood clotting study for Apple Watch
Source: Heartline Study

Prevention of stroke and systemic thromboembolism (blood clotting) remains the cornerstone for managing atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter.

Although multiple risk assessment models for stroke and systemic thromboembolism are currently available, there remain many barriers to seeking care and intervention, including access to care, and financial constraints, such as the cost of travel and medication. 

Patients may also not have knowledge of the disease of AF or its consequences if left untreated. Beyond the initial diagnosis and treatment, there are well-documented challenges with sustained adherence to recommended medications.

Too many patients skip or forget to take their medicine doses

According to research, suboptimal adherence or lack of persistence to direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) is common in patients with AF, with 1 in 3 being adherent less than 80% of the time, and it is associated with an approximate 39% increased risk of stroke. 

To address these well-documented gaps in the diagnosis and treatment for AF, the clinical trial outlined by the heartline study aims to take advantage of longitudinal opportunistic monitoring (Apple Watch), digital care (remote education and action planning), and clinical outcomes tracking, to assess the impact of early detection and preventive treatment in a real-world setting. 

The Heartline Study will test whether heart health features on the Apple Watch and a core digital engagement program (CDEP) can (1) accelerate AF diagnosis and (2) facilitate treatment adherence and improve clinical outcomes in patients with AF.  

The Heartline Study will test the impact of a new AF surveillance modality in an older patient population (≥65 years of age) on time-to-diagnosis, treatment, and care patterns, as well as clinical outcomes.Apple Watch Heartline study researchers

The heartline study includes researchers from Apple and a variety of medical research universities, along with experts from life science companies.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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