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Fitbit clears FDA to identify people with irregular heartbeats


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.

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

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Non-profit US organization that funds cardiovascular medical research

Health Organisation

Largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School located in Boston


Cardiac Electrophysiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital