Johnson & Johnson is partnering up with Apple to investigate whether the company’s own app in combination with Apple Watch’s irregular rhythm notifications and ECG app can speed-up the diagnosis and improve health outcomes of patients with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).
AFib is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to the formation of blood clots resulting in stroke, heart failure and other potentially devastating complications. Because blood clots formed in the heart can be large, strokes caused by AFib tend to damage large areas of the brain, which increases the risk of death, significant damage and high cost of treatment and care.
Approximately 33 million people worldwide are living with AFib. In the U.S. alone, AFib is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations every year.
The goal of the study is to analyze how Apple Watch can diagnose AFib early and prevent stroke. This large-scale program, set to launch later this year, will take place in the U.S. only, and will be designed as a pragmatic randomized controlled research study for individuals age 65 years or older, said a press release.
“We’re excited about the potential of common, wearable technology to aid in the earlier detection and prevention of a frequent cause of stroke,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “Too many people living with AFib are unaware of their risk, and earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of AFib could significantly improve outcomes. Based on the insights generated through this research program, we may be able to develop new ways to detect other health conditions earlier in the future that also exhibit measurable physiological symptoms.”
Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said Apple Watch is helping people learn more about their health, including finding out if they have AFib. “This kind of information empowers customers to follow up with the right treatment or even better, implement healthy habits aimed at prevention. We’re excited to work with Johnson & Johnson, a leader in the medical community, as we learn about the impact Apple Watch can have in delivering better health outcomes,” he said.