Wearables and smartphones, new channels for early detection of atrial fibrillation

Wearables and smartphones, new channels for early detection of atrial fibrillation

Consumer electronics provide a new way to detect atrial arrhythmias, a recent study found atrial arrhythmias in five percent of participants. The study was conducted by AFNET, principal investigator Professor Larissa Fabritz of the University of Birmingham and Center…




Consumer electronics provide a new way to detect atrial arrhythmias, a recent study found atrial arrhythmias in five percent of participants. The study was carried out by AFNET. principal investigator, the Professor Larissa Fabritz, From the University of Birmingham and the University of Hamburg Eppendorf Medical Center (UKE), Hamburg, Germany.

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common arrhythmia and a growing epidemic. It affects several million people in Europe, mostly older adults. In many people, the arrhythmia is asymptomatic and often goes undetected for a long time. This may carry the risk of stroke and other complications, which may be higher in older adults with atrial arrhythmias, even if the arrhythmia occurs only temporarily and goes unnoticed by the affected person.

Therefore, timely detection of atrial arrhythmias, especially in the elderly population, Early treatment to prevent complicationsfor example when starting anticoagulation to prevent strokes.

In this sense hemodern smartphone-connected wearables provide a new way for him. Professor Fabritz explained the background of the study as follows:Simple and scalable methods are needed to identify atrial arrhythmias in populations at risk to allow timely detection of AF and initiation of therapy. Therefore, we conducted the Smart in OAC – AFNET 9 study and evaluated the feasibility of an all-digital detection system for atrial arrhythmias in older adults.”.

The older adults who attended were given a wristband with a heart rate sensor connected to an app on their smartphone, allowing them to monitor their rhythm continuously and completely remotely for up to eight weeks. Remote engagement was crucial in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Atrial arrhythmia was detected in 44 participants (5%) within 28 days. This detection was higher in the first week of follow-up compared to the following weeks. Only a few people developed arrhythmias for the first time more than four weeks later.




Our screening detected atrial arrhythmias in 5% of older adults. Detection rates were high during the first week of follow-up and decreased thereafter, suggesting that relatively short follow-up times may be sufficient to detect older adults with atrial arrhythmias.“.

Such findings, according to the study’s authors, “Promote the use of all-digital consumer electronics-based systems to detect atrial arrhythmias in older adults.”

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