A new Cleveland Clinic study has affirmed that KardiaBand, a wearable EKG accessory that replaces the original Apple Watch band, can accurately detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), a leading cause of stroke.
The study, according to officials from AiveCor—the creator of the FDA-cleared personal electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) technology—marks the first time Apple Watch's role in healthcare has been studied in a peer-reviewed manuscript. KardiaBand specifically uses the wearable's heart rate technology and an attached sensor to provide EKG readings on the fly.
The Cleveland Clinic study, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, set out to determine whether the KardiaBand for Apple Watch could differentiate between AFib and normal heart rhythm.
Researchers found that KardiaBand successfully detected atrial fibrillation and normal sinus rhythm with an accuracy level comparable to physicians interpreting the same ECGs. In the study, the Kardia algorithm correctly interpreted AFib versus normal sinus rhythm with 93 percent sensitivity and 84 percent specificity. With physician review of KardiaBand recordings, sensitivity increased to 99 percent, researchers said.
KardiaBand, introduced in November, is the first and only FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch, according to officials.
In a separate study, additional new research has revealed that when paired with new artificial intelligence technology, AliveCor's ECG device is also able to perform non-invasive detection of high potassium levels in blood, a condition known as hyperkalemia.
Both studies were presented at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session.