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Source: Withings Move ECG

Making complex heart tests available at the push of a button has far-reaching consequences.

Many new wearable devices are now used to screen for AFib. That’s a big deal, because not only do as many as 6.1 million Americans have the condition, but research suggests another 700,000 have irregular heartbeats that are undiagnosed. AFib contributes to an estimated 130,000 deaths each year in the US—but 20% of people whose strokes were due to AFib were unaware they had it until they were hospitalized. At the moment, even people with the best access to care get only two or three ECGs a year. Preventive screening could, if widely implemented, save thousands of lives.

Taking an ECG reading from a watch is a big step in that direction.

Experience shows that when these devices are available, people use them. Fitbit devices now track more than 25 million active users. In early 2019, the connected-device maker Withings announced that its forthcoming watch will have an ECG reader. Apple alone sells millions of watches each year. Consumer ECGs are here, and they’re probably going to get cheaper and more ubiquitous.

Read the full article on MIT Technical Review by Dan Hon

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