Watch-based Apple Heart Study is the largest arrhythmia study of all time

in Apple Watch edited December 2018
The Apple Heart Study -- conducted by Stanford University in conjunction with Apple -- was the largest ever investigating arrhythmia, with 419,093 participants.

Apple Heart Study

The figure was highlighted in Volume 207 of the scientific American Heart Journal. The Heart Study, which ran from Nov. 29, 2017 through July 31 this year, depended on voluntary enrollment by Apple Watch owners, who had to download a custom app to share data from their heart rate sensors.

The next-biggest arrhythmia study was a Swedish effort that recruited 25,000 people, The Motley Fool observed.

Stanford Medicine said that the Apple/Stanford project is in the last stages of data collection, with plans to publish final results in early 2019. The scope of the sample group has likely made collection daunting, but may also provide more useful results assuming Watch data is reliable.

Stanford is specifically interested in detecting atrial fibrillation, or "AFib," which can be a harbinger of an eventual stroke. Since AFib often goes without symptoms, a heart rate sensor may be one of the best bets for catching it.

Apple has ramped up its positioning of the Apple Watch as a health accessory, recently launching a promised electrocardiogram (ECG) app for the Apple Watch Series 4. Using the app and special sensors in the base and crown, the Series 4 can act as a single-lead ECG reader, making it the first FDA-cleared consumer product with that technology.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,304member
    Steve Jobs would be proud.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Pretty cool that so many people participated in it. I am sure that Apple's reputation for strong privacy protections was a big factor in people's willingness to participate in this study. I participated in it too.
    StrangeDaysforgot usernamewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    Well done, Stanford and Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    The first thing that came to mind with 419,093 participants is what other studies can Stanford and Apple carry out with that huge patient base.  Is the data limited to AFib collection only or was there a sufficient data line for each patient/event that the data can be looked for other conditions.

    The other issue is can the data base be cleaned up (for privacy issues) and provided to other health/research organizations in the US and other countries with reputable researchers.  Or, just as important, with major government health organizations.

    One last thought - why other studies can be developed by Apple and Stanford (or other medical centers) for different cardiac studies, for other medical conditions, like PulseOx or Blood Glucose.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 651member
    This is going to get really interesting when there's a study involving the ECG data. Most ECG analysis is based on relatively few cases. I wonder if we'll learn anything new from a much larger corpus of data from the ECG sensor combined with the data from the photoplethysmographic sensor.
    caladanianforgot usernamewatto_cobra
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