Researchers use Apple Watch to explore New Frontiers in Heart Health

In just one day, the heart of an average healthy adult beats for more than 100,000 times.

The beating of the heart keeps on going even while we sleep, but goes largely unseen. With the use of the Apple Watch, what happens inside our bodies, particularly our apparently invisible heart, now becomes visible. Equipped with heart health features – including high and low heart notifications, irregular rhythm notifications, Cardio Fitness, AFib History, and the ECG app – Apple enables users to have an ever-developing view of their health with actionable insights.

The exact same advanced technology that provides insights to help people understand their health better also has the capability of opening the door to discovery for the research and medical fields. Ever since Apple launched its ResearchKit and CareKit back in 2015, developers, clinicians and researchers have found new and innovative ways to study, track and ultimately treat a wide range of health conditions.

In an effort to further push new discoveries that aim to improve health significantly, Apple launched the Investigator Support Program. In this program, the tech giant provides select researchers with Apple Watch devices, which enables them to break new ground in health research, including the scientific understanding of the heart.

Apple has highlighted some of the cutting-edge work of health researchers from all over the world who are using Apple Watch to study the heart in ways like never before.

For instance, pediatric oncologists from Australia plan to start researching the sensitivity of the Apple Watch ECG app in 40 children and adolescent patients.

Senior pediatric oncologist Dr. Rachel Conyers says, “From there, the team will look for ways for patients to take their ECGs wherever they are, whenever they’re able. With those insights, the team hopes to better understand the reality of cardiac toxicity and identify potential opportunities for intervention.”

Other applications for the use of Apple Watch when it comes to monitoring heart health include the impact of wildfire smoke on cardiac health in firefighters in California. Meanwhile in Europe, researchers are exploring ways to be able to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) earlier.