Apple Watch can monitor heart rhythms with FDA approval

Apple Watch can monitor heart rhythms with FDA approval

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | September 18, 2018
Cardiology Health IT

More news of wearable medical tech hit in February, when Empatica announced that its Embrace artificial intelligence-based smart watch received FDA clearance to monitor grand mal seizures and alert caregivers that help is needed.

“EEG's can't be used all day, every day like Embrace can, so EEGs miss a lot of important events that Embrace can catch,” Rosalind Picard, director of the Affective Computing Group and chief scientist at Empatica, told HCB News. “Embrace does not aim to replace the EEG. It gives complementary information, not the same information.”

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Embrace uses advanced machine learning technology to identify the convulsive seizures. It’s different from other seizure detection systems in that it quantifies physiological changes in sympathetic nervous system activity.

According to Picard, her team worked for years on creating wearable stress and emotion sensors, and accidentally discovered they could track changes in the skin elicited by brain activity related to the most dangerous types of seizures.

The latest Apple 4 apps aren't the only wrist-based heart-monitors. AliveCor launched its Kardia Pro artificial intelligence platform for atrial fibrillation in the U.S. market in February, 2017.

The Kardia band lets Apple Watch users capture their ECG to detect normal sinus heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation (AFib). It was the first FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch, according to a company statement.

“KardiaBand paired with SmartRhythm technology will be life-changing for people who are serious about heart health,” said Vic Gundotra, CEO, AliveCor at the time. “These capabilities will allow people to easily and discreetly check their heart rhythms when they may be abnormal, capturing essential information to help doctors identify the issue and inform a clear path of care to help manage AFib, a leading cause of stroke, and other serious conditions.”

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