Study finds that Apple Watch and iPhone can assess the frailty of cardiovascular patients

Some new data show that iPhone and Apple Watch can be used as a remote substitute for personal clinical assessment of the degree of weakness of cardiovascular patients.

According to a study published on “PLoS One” on Wednesday, Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch allow healthcare providers to remotely assess the frailty of heart disease patients through on-board sensors and an app-based 6-minute walk test version – This is a traditional clinical assessment of human functional ability.

This research was conducted by Stanford University and funded by Apple. It compares the performance of the traditional walking test with the clinic version measured by iPhone and Apple Watch sensors, as well as the walking test conducted remotely through the app. It also incorporates passively collected activity data.

According to the research results, the walking test based on the app can accurately determine the degree of weakness of the patient. However, when the test is performed at home, the accuracy drops slightly. Researchers believe that this is due to variability outside the clinic, rather than Apple’s sensor kit.

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In a supervised walk test, the device data can provide an assessment of the degree of weakness with a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 85%. In the home test, these numbers dropped to 83% sensitivity and 60% specificity. Although the reliability of passive activity data is slightly lower than that of home walking tests, the researchers suggest that each method can support remote monitoring of elderly cardiovascular patients.



“In this study, we show that measurements based on smart devices, including 6MWT and passively collected activity data, provide clinically accurate and meaningful insights about the functional capabilities of patients with (cardiovascular disease),” the researchers wrote.

The study covered 110 Veterans Affairs patients with an average age of 68.9 years. Except for one woman, the rest are men. Among them, 85% had hypertension, 35% had diabetes, 21% had aortic stenosis, 15% had atrial fibrillation and 4% had heart failure. This study is a follow-up to the previous survey conducted by the same team in 2018. The focus of that study was to measure the accuracy of iPhone step tracking.


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