Study shows regular wearables can detect sleep apnea and hypertension

Heart rate and step count data was collected by the Watch

Heart rate and step count data was collected by the Watch

The University of California San Francisco and Health startup Cardiogram have partnered together on another study aiming to provide details on just how well the Apple Watch is able to detect common health problems.

Though the study was conducted through the Apple Watch, Cardiogram co-founder and study lead Johnson Hsieh believes it shows promise for most wearables that incorporate a heart-rate sensor as "they basically all have the same technology built inside", he told TechCrunch. The discovery potentially opens up the ability for the device to be used as a long-term research tool for these conditions.

Cardiogram researchers said the app's neural network was fed with data on 70 percent of the volunteers.

"The idea here is that by screening continuously you would identify people with hypertension who might not know they have it. Thenm you'd guide them through the appropriate final diagnosis, which would be through a blood pressure cuff and then treatment."

The study, shared today at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, reveals that the Apple Watch is capable of detecting sleep apnea with 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with 82 percent accuracy.

The USCF team and Cardiogram trained the AI-based algorithms to detect the two conditions based on the principles that patients with low heart rates are more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure also known as hypertension., while those with a certain beat-to-beat rate variability are very likely wot be diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Cardiogram says that peer-reviewed clinical research will be necessary to further determine whether wearables are able to screen for major health conditions like sleep apnea and hypertension, but the research results will be translated into future Cardiogram features.

The last time Cardiogram used DeepHeart on an Apple Watch was to spot irregularities in heart rate rhythms.

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