Overdiagnosis Only a Matter of Time With ECG Watches
It would be easy to rejoice over recent news in mobile health. First, the FDA cleared a new ECG sensor for the Apple Watch. The Kardia Band allows people to record a single-lead ECG from a watch. That is nifty. And it's an advance over other wrist devices (such as, Fitbit, Garmin, etc) that use photoplethysmography (PPG) and detect only pulse rate. The Kardia band—similar to the AliveCor—lets you see the actual ECG. Perhaps the bigger news was that Apple announced its entry into cardiac research with the Apple Heart Study. In partnership with Stanford researchers, the study will collect Apple Watch ECG recordings from people who volunteer to share their data. The goal is to learn more about atrial fibrillation (AF) and potentially reduce the burden of stroke. Getting Apple interested in cardiology is big.
@jhilmil The thinking behind mobile heart-rhythm monitoring is simple: Stroke is a major health problem. AF associates with stroke. We have a treatment for stroke reduction (anticoagulants). Thus, it would be great to screen more people to detect AF. The problem is that simple thinking rarely works in medicine—an observation that was made long before mobile tech.