Recently, the Apple Watch was in the news again. Apple’s smart wearable watch was involved in helping save a man’s life whose heart rate had dropped. According to an online report, a British man named Paul Hutton received a warning on his Apple Watch that his heart rate was dropping dangerously, below 40 bpm (beats per minute) when the normal resting heart rate is between 60bpm to 100bpm.
This new piece of information led the 48-year old Hutton to the ER for a check-up where he was diagnosed with a low heart rate. Looking to resolve the issue, Hutton gave up caffeine. However, his Apple Watch kept on shooting him warnings of lowering heart rate. Another trip to a specialist and Hutton was diagnosed with ventricular bigeminy which is a medical condition where the heart is unable to pump effectively.
A three-hour successful surgery and some sedatives later, Hutton was discharged with good health. This is not the only incident which showed how an Apple Watch can be of help in saving someone’s life.
In another incident involving the Apple Watch Series 4, a California-based doctor was able to save a life after his Apple Watch detected Atrial Fibrillation on a restaurant-goer. Also shortened to AFib or AF, it is a phenomenon which has affected over 2.7 million Americans, where the heartbeat is irregular or quivering which leads to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.
Thankfully, Tommy Korn was able to detect the condition beforehand. He tweeted stating, “As a physician, it’s much faster to put my #applewatch4 on someone else’s wrist to detect disease (A. fib) than finding an ECG machine at a public restaurant! (Indeed, a true #mhealth guardian).”
In the rapidly evolving world today, the market of smart wearables has grown by leaps and bounds. Smartwatches are running on the Android platform, Samsung wearables on Tizen, or the widely popular Apple Watch, currently sold in series 4 variants. Smart wearables are poised to disrupt the healthcare industry soon. According to a report by Markets and Markets, the global healthcare market for medical wearable devices has been projected to reach $12.1 billion by 2021.
The reason here is that the Apple Watch is more user-friendly, unobtrusive, and gets several features like wireless data transmission, real-time feedback, and various alerting mechanisms. There are a lot of benefits of using the smart wearable technology where patients can constantly monitor and take control of their health.
However, for these benefits which have been restricted to the individual wellness and fitness market, to work in a proper clinical setting is a big task. The adoption and transition of the smart wearable require the passing of several exhaustive regulatory processes to obtain approval from the FDA or any government medical body. The regulatory hurdles include the kind of data which is produced by the wearable, the quality of data, relevance, and the applicability to a clinical premise.
The Apple Watch Series 4 will be one of the first widely available wearables which have received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which allows Apple to market and sell the Apple Watch Series 4 as a medical device. The Watch Series 4 gets ECG which is short for Electrocardiogram. The Watch can measure a heart’s rhythm and determine if there is an anomaly. The readings are stored in the Health app which can be directly shared with a medical professional.
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