Wearable heart monitor company iRhythm is collaborating with Alphabet’s health company Verily on unspecified new technology that will monitor people at risk for atrial fibrillation (Afib). Afib is a common form of irregular heart rhythm that is linked with strokes and other serious health problems. This partnership brings together iRhythm’s expertise in AI based arrhythmia diagnosis and Verily’s advanced health data analytics technologies to address the millions of patients living with undiagnosed AFib.
“We are excited to partner with iRhythm, a pioneer in ambulatory cardiac monitoring, to find innovative ways to deliver more efficient care to patients with atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. Jessica Mega, chief medical and scientific officer of Verily. “With the high prevalence of cardiovascular-related health issues, we have an opportunity to not only improve how we diagnose, manage and monitor conditions like atrial fibrillation, but also develop patient-centric solutions that could ultimately prevent serious cardiac events.”
iRhythm estimates that more than 10 million Americans are at high risk for Atrial fibrillation. This condition is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke as compared to those without AFib, with these strokes tending to be more severe and associated with higher mortality rates. For approximately 20% of individuals who experience a stroke due to AFib, the occurrence of AFib was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. Further, an estimated one-third of those who have AFib are not aware they have it. Asymptomatic or “silent” AFib is associated with certain risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea – which increase an individual’s likelihood for developing the disorder, reports Globe News Wire.
This new partnership aims to address this significant, underserved population at risk for asymptomatic or silent AFib. Under the terms of the agreement, iRhythm and Verily will collaborate on solutions capable of providing earlier warnings, enabling the identification and management of patients that could otherwise go undiagnosed until they have a cardiac event, such as a stroke.
At the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in May, the first phase of the mSToPS study, published in JAMA, showed that patients who were diagnosed with AFib in iRhythm’s Zio service-monitored group had a significantly lower rate of hospitalizations and emergency room visits than the non-monitored control group. “We are pleased to partner with one of the world’s most reputable healthcare technology companies to better serve the millions of people living with AF today. Verily’s patient-centric approach to disease management and advanced hardware capabilities will prove critical in providing patients and providers with the tools needed to increase the efficiency of heart healthcare,” said Kevin King, president and CEO of iRhythm.
As part of the agreement, iRhythm is making an upfront payment to Verily of $5 million and potential milestone payments of up to $13 million.