The Mayo Clinic developed a new app that transmits ECG signals from Apple Watches for AI analysis to identify heart disease.
The application securely transmits ECG (electrocardiograms) signals recorded in non-clinical environments to a medical center so that the AI analysis can identify left-ventricular dysfunction, a life-threatening, asymptomatic heart disease.
According to a news release, a study — for which results were presented as late-breaking clinical science during Heart Rhythm 2022 — observed 2,454 subjects from 46 states and 11 countries who downloaded the study app for their Apple Watch. The average age was 53±15 years, and 56% were female.
Mayo Clinic’s app sent all previously recorded ECGs for clinician review, and AI analyzed ECGs acquired within one month of a clinically ordered ECG. They were evaluated for the presence of ejection fraction ≤40% using a model adapted for single lead use.
“We have seen how artificial intelligence has revolutionized the already common ECG into a tool that can be used to identify occult cardiovascular diseases. Our team saw vast potential to expand tracking outside of a physician’s office by using popular wearable devices,” Mayo Clinic’s Zachi Itzhak Attia said in the release. “We set out to create a platform that could not only provide accurate readings, but also would yield high patient engagement with an easy to navigate, user-friendly process that can be completed from the comfort of a patient’s home.”
Data collected between August 2021 and August 2022 included 125,610 ECGs, with 92% of patients using the app more than once. Of all participants, 421 had at least one sinus rhythm within 30 days of an echocardiogram, with 16 total patients (3.8%) registering an EF ≤40%. Of that group of 16, 13 were identified by the watch’s AI ECG.
Authors of the study seek FDA approval for the current algorithm used in the trial, and they aim to test additional AI algorithms developed by their team. Expansion of the current interface is also an aim, including for use in screening for other common heart conditions like AFib.
“These findings show that the application of AI to a wearable device ECG can effectively monitor left ventricular dysfunction. For patients who might unknowingly have this condition, such as those with hypertension, diabetes, advancing age, and people receiving some forms of chemotherapy, the tool could enable early detection and help physicians optimize treatment options,” Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Paul Friedman said. “This technology has the potential to be scaled and adopted by hospital systems to better serve patients, particularly in remote communities or geographically diverse populations around the world, potentially addressing health care disparities, and enabling physicians to offer more coordinated patient care.”