Thursday December 12, 2019

Doctors Feel Blessed on New Heart Health Tools in Apple Watch in India

The medical fraternity on Friday welcomed the arrival of the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch for users in India

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"The results can be shared with the doctors so that any major complication can be averted." Pixabay

The medical fraternity on Friday welcomed the arrival of the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch for users in India, stressing that it will make people more aware about their heart health.

Although the Apple Watch will not provide a final conclusion into whether a person is actually suffering from Atrial fibrillation (AFib) — irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clot formation in the heart which then embolises to the brain causing stroke — the readings will make more Indians consult their physicians about their heart health, doctors feel.

Although accurate worldwide estimates are lacking, calculations suggest that over one per cent of the adult population is affected in the developed world, wrote Vijay Bohra, Gautam Sharma and Rajnish Juneja from Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in their research.

“In our country, there is virtually no data on AF (AFib), most of the data that has been derived is from international studies with an Indian cohort,” the trio wrote, adding that there is “indeed a dearth of data on epidemiologic outcomes in patients of rheumatic AF in the country leading to inconsistent practice patterns as regards medical therapy, especially oral anticoagulation”.

According to Mukesh Goel, Senior Consultant, Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, AFib is more prone in those patients who are predisposed to have AFib and stroke.

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Comparisons between irregular pulse-detection on Apple Watch and simultaneous electrocardiography patch recordings showed the pulse detection algorithm has 71 per cent positive predictive value. Pixabay

“Generally, we do holter monitoring (a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm) or extended holter monitoring which is a 24-hour ECG monitoring system, to detect AFib in the patients. However, it is not always necessary that these 2-3 episodes of AFib will occur during the time of the holter monitoring,” Goel told IANS.

Hence, in such cases, Apple Watch will be playing a vital role in detecting AFib in time, he added.

“Having said this, a person must wear the Watch both during day and night so that the occurrence of AFib is detected well in time,” Goel suggested.

New electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Apple Watch Series 4 or later, work together with the ECG app to enable customers to take an ECG similar to a single-lead reading.

To take an ECG recording at any time or following an irregular rhythm notification, hold their finger on the Digital Crown. As the user touches the Digital Crown, the circuit is completed and electrical signals across their heart are measured.

After 30 seconds, the heart rhythm is classified as either AFib, sinus rhythm or inconclusive.

Sanjiv Bhardwaj, Associate Director, Department of Interventional Cardiology at Jaypee Hospital Noida said that smartwatches and fitness bands are now playing a vital role in updating the users about their heart health and the possible risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases.

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Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease. Pixabay

“Advanced and modern features like an ECG app and irregular heart rhythm monitor will surely be a huge help to the users. They can easily get the notifications about their heart rhythm and its classification in less than a minute.

“The results can be shared with the doctors so that any major complication can be averted,” Bhardwaj told IANS.

With watchOS 6, the irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch Series 4 and the upcoming Series 5 on September 27 will use the optical heart sensor to occasionally check the user’s heart rhythm in the background for signals of an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be AFib.

If irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is identified on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes, a notification will be generated to alert the user.

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“Technology is moving at lightning speed and Apple is surely abreast with it. Rhythm identification via the phone is no longer a dream,” said Aparna Jaswal, Associate Director, Cardiology & Electrophysiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi.

“Apple Watch will help identify AF and rhythm disorders and this will surely help in early identification of disease,” she said.

The irregular rhythm notification feature was recently studied in the Apple Heart Study. With over 400,000 participants, the Apple Heart Study was the largest screening study on atrial fibrillation ever conducted. (IANS)

Next Story

Apple Brings iOS, iPadOS 13.3 with a Host of Bug Fixes and Improvements

Alongside the iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 updates, Apple has rolled out tvOS 13.3 for Apple TV users. The company has also brought watchOS 6.1.1 for all compatible Apple Watch models

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FILE - Apple's App Store app is seen in Baltimore, MD., March 19, 2018. VOA

Apple has released iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 updates to all its compatible iPhones and iPads, respectively, with a host of bug fixes and improvements.

The new software updates come two weeks after the release of iOS/iPadOS 13.2.3 and more than a month after the launch of iOS 13.2.

The iOS and iPadOS 13.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update, MacRumors reported recently.

The iOS 13.3 update includes new parental controls that allow allow parents to set communication limits.

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iPhones are on display at an Apple store in Prince William Country, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet) VOA

Communication limits let parents control who their children are able to contact, with the feature covering FaceTime, Phone, Messages, and iCloud Contacts.

The iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 updates bring support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in Safari.

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Another change in iOS 13.3 is a new setting that allows users to disable the Memoji and Animoji stickers from always appearing on the emoji keyboard.

Alongside the iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3 updates, Apple has rolled out tvOS 13.3 for Apple TV users. The company has also brought watchOS 6.1.1 for all compatible Apple Watch models. (IANS)