Mayo Clinic Researchers can now detect weak heart pumps from Apple Watch ECGs using AI

take an ECG using Apple Watch

The Mayo Clinic recently announced that their researchers could use AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms on Apple Watch ECG data to effectively identify patients with a weak heart pump. 

According to Mayo Clinic, study participation was high, effectively suggesting that a scalable tool could be developed to screen and monitor heart patients for this condition irrespective of the patient’s location.

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Results from the study were presented at the Heart Rhythm Society conference 2022.

Left ventricular dysfunction — a weak heart pump — afflicts 2% to 3% of people globally and 9% of people over age 60.

It may have no symptoms or be associated with shortness of breath, leg swelling, or racing heartbeats.

What is important is that once we know a weak heart pump is present, there are many lifesaving and symptom-preventing treatments available.

Remarkably, AI transforms a consumer watch ECG signal into a detector of this condition, which would normally require an expensive, sophisticated imaging test, such as an echocardiogram, CT scan, or MRI,” says Paul Friedman, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Previous work at the Mayo Clinic showed that a 12-lead ECG and AI algorithm can identify a weak heart pump and that this information is useful to clinicians in an office setting.

The 12-lead ECG algorithm was awarded breakthrough device designation by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019 and emergency use authorization for COVID-19 in 2020.

These new results are exciting as the researchers were able to take ECG readings of a single lead device such as the Apple Watch and modify it using sophisticated AI algorithms to help detect and monitor weaker heart pumps.

According to the study results published today, Participants securely transmitted 125,610 ECGs from 46 states and 11 countries over the six-month study period.

The average app use was about two times a month. Overall participation was high, as 92% used the app more than once. Each patient recorded many ECGs, and researchers chose the cleanest readings.

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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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