the Apple Watch Series 4 introduced As Apple last September, it was clear: This watch is stealing the iPhone, the Show. The lay less in the new Design, but rather a function that one would expect in such a device: In the crown, an electrical Sensor, which can be an electrocardiogram (ECG) recording. This is a method of investigation of the electrical activity of the heart is measured. Apple wants to save the own claim is not less than life.

so Far, the new heart function – ECG (exclusive for the Series 4) and detection of atrial fibrillation (Series 1 to 4) were only available in the US. Now they are after the Installation of the current operating systems (iOS 12.2 and watchOS 5.2) for German users. We were able to test the features prior to the German launch.

common disease atrial fibrillation

First of all, for the detection of atrial fibrillation, the models for almost all of the Apple Watch-available. The function must first be in the settings in the Watch App, the paired iPhones activated, but then runs automatically in the Background. The clock scans on a regular basis with the help of the optical sensor on the bottom of the heart rhythm and looks for abnormalities.

A note that you should go to the doctor, but the watch only, if five rhythm tests over a period of a minimum of 65 minutes irregularities were discovered. “That is to say, you are caught inevitably rather longer atrial fibrillation episodes, and not the very short, at the beginning of a disease more likely,” explains Thomas Deneke, chief physician of a heart-vascular-clinic in Bad Neustadt. He has been testing the new features already since December 2018, as they have been unlocked in the USA. “However, Apple reduced by the strict algorithm is also the risk to have false-positive results.” In this way, panic will be making avoided.

The unrecognized danger

cardiovascular diseases with a share of more than 38 percent of the most common cause of death in Germany. Especially atrial fibrillation is steadily increasing. The phenomenon, however, remains often unrecognized. Estimates are that up to 1.5 million people are affected in Germany, the equivalent of two percent of the population. In the Over-80-Year-olds, there are more than ten percent. The older you get, the higher the risk for atrial fibrillation. However, it can also meet 20-Year-old, a high-risk group are top athletes. Estimates of the AF Association, according to life in Europe, 11 million people with atrial fibrillation.

The heart rhythm disturbance is not life-threatening. The great danger, however, lies in an increased risk for stroke – the world’s second most common cause of death. Experts assume that 30 percent of strokes with atrial fibrillation.


The new heart sensor, the Apple Watch Series 4

©Christoph Fröhlich/star of the ECG in the crown

The second major change is in the crown of the Apple Watch sunken electrical Sensor, through which the App derives an electrocardiogram (ECG). This is a quick and intuitive: you Start the App, you have to put your Finger for 30 seconds to the crown. Then an evaluation will be pushed directly to the watch, a detailed history curve is transferred to the Health App on your paired iPhone. These can be sent if necessary to the attending physician. All health data is encrypted to Apple, and will not be shared with other users. Not even the companies themselves have access to, says the group.

Test it even calls the emergency doctor, Apple Watch Series 4 in the Test: This watch steals the iPhone on the Show By Christoph Fröhlich

In the case of the Apple Watch Series 4 it is a One-channel ECG. The Standard in hospitals, by contrast, is a Twelve-channel ECG, which is recorded with a plurality of on-body electrodes. How informative are the data collected with the clock? “When it comes to diagnose atrial fibrillation, that’s good enough. For this you need a rule, not a dedicated Twelve-channel ECG analysis,” explains chief physician Deneke. “For other arrhythmias or the detection of circulatory disorders of the heart however, you need twelve channels. But the Apple Watch is not designed”.

+++ click here to read the complete interview with chief doctor Thomas Deneke. He explains how dangerous is atrial fibrillation, what he thinks of the Apple Watch Series 4 and what is the group even better +++

Apple itself would have to make to inform the user of the device that the watch can detect any heart attacks. When you feel a tightness or pain in the chest, you should call immediately the emergency and not only on his clock to fiddle around with. The watch is rather to be understood as a Warning device.

compared with the hospital-ECG

The accuracy of the watch wanted to find out Apple together with Stanford University in a large-scale study of more than 420,000 volunteers took part. The algorithm of the clock was long-time-ECG as compared. The clock sounded the Alarm, was checked, whether the ECG confirmed the suspicion. The result: Perfectly fits the Apple Watch is not, it will not be a 100% Match – but at least 85 percent. That is, when the watch detected an irregular heart rate, this was seen 85 per cent, with a synchronous-scale ECG as atrial fibrillation.

“That’s pretty good,” is the assessment of the chief doctor Deneke. Other systems, such as implants, also reached 100 percent. “Of course you can always hope that it will be even better. But for a first serve that is remarkable.” If the watch is used as intended, “I can imagine that you can prevent strokes, and thereby perhaps also the one or the other save lives.”

An aspect of the doctor, however, is critical: “In the Apple-heart study, many patients were detected with atrial fibrillation. But only a few are then also went to the doctor to discuss what these findings mean in concrete terms for you. There is a gap in Motivation is yet.” Only 57 percent of the people, which is an irregular heart rhythm was detected, were in the end really go to the doctor. The were too few, says Deneke. He suggests that Apple is taking the user in such a Situation, stronger to give you more information and a closer connection to the medical sector. However, this is difficult with the German data protectiveto arrange provisions.

health is a billion-dollar market

For Apple, this is the Expansion of the heart is only a stage on the way to the big goal: After the smartphone market, the group intends to revolutionize the health sector. The stated Apple CEO Tim Cook is already a few years ago in an interview with Fast Company: “Our strategy is to help you in every section of your life. […] We penetrate even in the health sector, this is an area in which many, many people wish for improvements”.

In another Interview, the Apple CEO made it clear that it is only a Hobby: “In the future you will look back and the question is, what has been Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind, the health of call,” says Cook. And: “We want to empower the Individual to manage their own health – a Power that is so far in the institutions.”

you can find pretentious, but the strategy could pay off, believes the Gartner analyst, Annette Zimmermann. The Apple Watch is the most successful Smartwatch in the world and the sun in terms of sales figures from competitors such as Samsung. In an interview with the star, Zimmermann says: “Apple definitely has big plans in this area. This is driven initially by the US-American market, since the health care and insurance situation for the average citizen, said a nice ‘challenge’ is in comparison to Europe. The demand for health services is quite different than in the us. This Situation is the main driver for Apple to make a difference in this market.”

Interview with the New heart functions using ECG Really a life saver? The a chief physician to the Apple Watch Series 4

says the Apple Watch Series 4 Apple wants to save lives. Now, the group activates in Germany, the ECG function. A German chief doctor has tried, the heart is already several months and reveals what the watch is good from his point of view in everyday medical practice.

By Christoph Fröhlich


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