The University Health Network and Apple have partnered to conduct a three-month study to determine whether the Apple Watch can help identify patients at risk of heart failure.
The study is being led by cardiologist Dr Heather Ross and will see the latest Apple Watch Series 6 used by participants. The latest version of Watch, the Series 6 is the only model to feature a bloody oxygenation app powered by infrared sensors on the rear of its case.
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In collaboration with Apple, the study will compare data gathered from the smartwatch with data routinely collected from the physical tests that patients normally undergo. The goal is to determine whether the health sensors of an Apple Watch, including the Blood Oxygen app and activity tracking, can provide an early warning for worsening heart failure.
The study will investigate if patients are able to perform assessments in their own home, using the Apple Watch, in place of those normally conducted in a clinic.
Dr Ross said: "We think that biometric data derived from Apple Watch may provide comparable, precise and accurate measurements of fitness, prognostic markers and early warning signals, compared to traditional diagnostics."
The latest Watch Series 6 is the only model to have a Blood Oxygen appApple
This is far from the first time the Apple Watch has been used as part of a clinical study. In March 2019, Apple and Harvard published the results of an eight-month study that saw 419,000 participants have their heart health monitored by the watch. The result was that the Watch can effectively detect heart conditions, in relation to its ECG app and ability to take a single-lead electrocardiogram to spot the signs of atrial fibrillation.
More recently, the Apple Watch and other wearables have been used in studies to determine whether they can detect the potential signs of Covid-19 before the patient notices any symptoms.
Returning to the new University Health Network study, and Apple's vice president of health Dr Sumbul Desai said: "Surfacing heart health insights has played a key role in the evolution of Apple Watch and we're continually humbled by the responses we hear from users on the impact it has had on their lives. We're thrilled to be collaborating with UHN and Dr Heather Ross to better understand how the powerful sensors in Apple Watch can potentially help patients better manage heart failure, from the comfort of their own home."
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