As Google extends AFib detection to more Fitbit wearables

google The recent announcement that atrial fibrillation detection (AFib) will soon be available on most Fitbit devices is a notable gain, as only two of these devices have an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor. AFib is an irregular heart rhythm that can indicate a problem that needs to be checked by a doctor. In some cases, early detection of AFib can save lives, so it’s an important health feature.

A study by Fitbit, started in 2020, that enables the detection of AFib in a variety of wearable devices was completed and the results showed high precision. Oddly enough, these devices only use PPG (photopletismography) heart rate sensors for detection, no longer the ECG sensors. The Fitbit wearables tested in the original study were the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Versa, Charge 3, Charge 4 and Inspire HR.

Google’s recent blog post states that Fitbit has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to perform the AFib test on most Fitbit devices, even some models that don’t have EKG sources. That’s how it works. With each heart attack, blood vessels throughout the body expand and counteract in response to changes in blood flow and volume. The compatible Fitbit PPG heart rate sensors can detect these changes in blood volume on the user’s wrist by sending pulses of light to reflect the reflected light. When analyzing these symptoms, the user’s heart rate can be determined. Fitbit’s detection algorithm can compare results to a normal heart rate to identify new symptoms and potential for atrial fibrillation. This is done at night, which is the ideal time to perform that meditation.

An EKG-compatible Fitbit smartwatch or monitor can check heart rate and possibly identify AFib at what time. The Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 series have an ECG sensor to perform this test when a user wants to verify it. However, the best time to monitor AFib is during sleep, when the body is calmer and can be measured with greater precision and over longer periods of time.

This is the exclusive benefit of this new PPG AFib detection, a lower power consumption method that lasts longer without consuming much battery. Unfortunately, Google didn’t specify which Fitbit smartwatches and recorders could take advantage of this new resource, but the device used in this medical study is as old as the Fitbit Ionic that launched in 2017, so google The number of models with AFib detection can be expanded considerably.

source: Google, Fitbit

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