Could an Apple Watch app reduce stroke risks?

04 March 2020

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Apple (NSDQ:AAPL) announced today that they’ve opened enrollment for the Heartline Study, which will look at the ability of Apple Watch heart health features to reduce stroke risks.

The Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with Apple, are looking for U.S. residents over 65 who have an iPhone 6s or better, use traditional Medicare and are willing to share their Medicare claims data. People interested in enrolling and downloading the app can go to the Heartline Study’s website.

The study is testing whether earlier detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib) via the Apple Watch could help people take more proactive measures to prevent strokes. The companies noted that AFib is a leading cause of stroke in the U.S. — but nearly a third of people who have AFib don’t know they have it until a serious cardiovascular event such as stroke takes place.

“Heartline is a study that has the potential to fundamentally change our understanding of how digital health tools, like the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch, could lead to earlier detection of AFib, helping patients understand and directly engage in their heart health, prompting potentially life-saving conversations with their doctors, and improving health outcomes,” said Dr. C. Michael Gibson, co-chair of the Heartline executive committee and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The randomized, nationwide study is relying on an app-based approach in which participants engage remotely through their iPhone and in some cases an Apple Watch, rather than travel to a clinical trial site. People in the study will earn participation points that could translate into more than $150 in monetary awards.

“Apple technology is making a meaningful impact on scientific research through the powerful capabilities of iPhone and Apple Watch, all with privacy at the center of the participant experience,” said Myoung Cha, Apple’s head of health strategic initiatives. “The Heartline Study will help further understanding of how our technology could both contribute to science and help improve health outcomes, including reducing the risk of stroke.”

Published by on February 25, 2020
Image by Shutterstock


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