Study Suggests Apple Watch Can Accurately Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

Earlier this year, Cardiogram revealed some results from a study conducted with University of California, San Francisco, which showed that the Apple Watch can detect atrial fibrillation with a 97% accuracy rate.

The study found that the neural network could correctly recognize hypertension with 82% accuracy and sleep apnea with 90% accuracy. Specialists shared the new study on November 14 during the meeting at the American Heart Association, in Anaheim. Since 37 percent and 17 percent of the participants have hypertension and sleep apnea, respectively, the AI got the samples it needed to be able to say whether someone has either condition.

Being able to detect sleep apnea and hypertension in the comfort of our homes with just a simple device could be a game-changer in medicine.

The app-maker's studies still have to undergo peer-reviewed clinical research, and that includes its previous experiment, wherein it trained its AI to detect the signs of a stroke.

John Hsieh is the co-founder of Cardiogram and the lead author of the study.

"The idea here is that by screening continuously you would identify people with hypertension who might not know they have it", said Hsieh. The Apple Watch would transform into a blood pressure cuff to explicitly state the diagnosis. It's incredibly exciting to see that the potential of wearables to let us know about risky health conditions - non-invasively - is alive and well, but this also requires the companies in charge of these platforms to deliver on software and AI as good as DeepHeart. The company needed data to be able to train its AI to recognize heart rate patterns that denote the presence of the conditions, though, so it recruited 6,115 of its app's users to participate in an online study with the UCSF Health lab. The study was based on already established guidelines that suggest people with low heat rate variability are 1.44 times more likely to develop high blood pressure, and that algorithms can accurately determine sleep apnea by looking at beat-to-beat heart rate variability. This smart feature is what should convince numerous other people to purchase an Apple smartwatch.

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