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Fitbit clears FDA to identify people with irregular heartbeats

Detected atrial fibrillation in one-third of adults, but faces issues with implementation


Key points from article :

Results of a massive, 455,000-person study point to Fitbit’s ability to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Fitbit received FDA clearance for its AFib feature, which uses a built-in ECG sensor to detect potential arrhythmias.

Researchers carried out a large, virtual clinical trial using Fitbit to detect AFib compared to an ECG patch.

Roughly 1% of all participants got an irregular heart rhythm notification.

These people were instructed to use an ECG patch at home for a week; 32% were confirmed to have atrial fibrillation.

But it faces challenges with implementation, as many people failed to follow-up.

“We’re eager to find a way to engage participants in remote clinical research in the future,” - Steven Lubitz, study’s lead author.

The study had no control group, and no report on false negatives, or people who got no alert, but did have AFib.

Apple devices showed a potential interest to detect other types of arrhythmias.

Study by MGH presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.

Mentioned in this article:

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American Heart Association

Non-profit US organization that funds cardiovascular medical research

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

Largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School located in Boston

Steven Lubitz

Cardiac Electrophysiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital

Topics mentioned on this page:
Fitness Tracker, Heart Disease