Apple partnering with Johnson & Johnson to determine if Apple Watch can determine a stroke risk

Image: Apple

Undeniable, people love the Series 4 Apple Watch. Specifically, people love how the watch can monitor their heart, and allow them to take ECG’s right from Apple Watch and have it readily available to send to their cardiologist through the Health app. Now, Apple has partnered with pharmaceutical titan Johnson & Johnson to launch a study that will look into Apple Watch being able to detect a stroke and risks that may lead up to a stroke. Here’s everything we know so far.

Image: Apple

When Apple launched Apple Watch in April 2015, people underestimated the sheer power of the device. Over the years, Apple Watch has been credited with saving numerous lives thanks to the heart features built-in to each Apple Watch since the original.

With the Series 4 Apple Watch, Apple took it a step further an introduced an Electrocardiogram sensor that is able to take single-lead-style ECG readings, then, creates a PDF in the Health app and allows the user to send their results to their cardiologist or primary care physician. The ECG app rolled out with a watchOS 5.1.2 update on December 6th, 2018, and has already saved lives.

Earlier today, it was announced that Apple has partnered with pharmaceutical titan Johnson & Johnson to launch a new heart study that will look into Apple Watch being able to detect and diagnose an increased risk of a stroke.

According to Mayo Clinic, “A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.” A stroke can be fatal, and in 2015 was the second most frequent cause of death after heart disease.

According to Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Paul Stoffels, speaking with USA Today, “the goal is to identify early on AFib and prevent stroke by combining the physical know-how from Apple and what we have from the medical and scientific know-how.

Image: Apple

According to Johnson & Johnson, AFib has become increasingly more common, and believe that many are still left undiagnosed. They believe that being properly diagnosed is a key to early stroke detection and prevention.

Cardiologist Paul Burton, Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of medical affairs for internal medicine, says “It is fair to say that the Watch has a very very good detection rate.” Both Apple and Burton also say that you cannot rely solely on Apple Watch, though. There are still many false positives and recommend patients visit their cardiologist for a proper diagnosis.

Burton adds, “the study has the potential to show that there is a lot more atrial fibrillation out there in the real world in older people than we ever imagined, and if you use a tool like an Apple Watch to detect and funnel people to care, you can really drive down stroke risk in those patients.”

Stoffels says that patient privacy is a top concern for the study, and it will only gather aggregate data rather than individual data.

The controlled study will begin later this year and is open to anyone living in the U.S. and 65 and older who own a Series 4 Apple Watch. I hope that they will open the study to younger customers since I was born with heart defects such as heart murmur, abnormal heart rhythm, among other heart defects.

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