New study will discover if Apple Watch can predict impending heart failure

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Apple Watch Series 6
This would be another impressive feather in Apple Watch's cap.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Renowned cardiologist Dr. Heather Ross has teamed up with Apple to carry out a clinical study to see whether the Apple Watch could be used to predict worsening heart failure.

As part of the study, data that is collected using the Apple Watch’s sensors — including the Blood Oxygen app and mobility features — will be compared to the data that’s gathered by doctors using physical examinations. If it’s accurate, this could turn to be another exciting advance for the Apple Watch and its users.

A Newswise article describing the work notes that:

“Suitable patients from the heart function program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, will be asked to participate in the three month active monitoring study, with each patient using an iPhone and Apple Watch Series 6, and a two-year follow up. The study will investigate the ability of patients to perform traditionally clinic-based assessments in the comfort of their own home. All study participant data collected during the study will be stored in an encrypted form … Participants have the ability to opt-out of the study at any time.”

Apple Watch’s health drive

Tim Cook has previously said that he believes Apple’s health contributions could turn out to be the company’s lasting legacy. Mobile health has become an increasingly important part of Apple Watch. This includes current features like the Blood Oxygen app and arrhythmia-detecting ECG, as well as health and fitness features tracking movement and suggesting that users stand up and walk around at regular intervals. In the future, the Apple Watch might also carry out noninvasive glucose monitoring. This would be a game-changer for people with diabetes.

“Surfacing heart health insights has played a key role in the evolution of Apple Watch,” said Dr. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s VP of Health. “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.”