Doctors from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and T. Chan School of Medicine found that fitness trackers are the cheapest and most effective way to screen for atrial fibrillation in the elderly. The study was published in the journal JAMA Network.
The researchers modeled a population of 30 million people aged 65 and over. After comparing various atrial fibrillation screening tools, they calculated that the fitness watch was the most affordable tool. They significantly reduce the risk of stroke. Among the devices included in the study by the authors were traditional fitness trackers, as well as watches with limited ECG functionality that read the electrical activity of the heart, and a watch with photoplethysmography functionality, which are translucent vessels to determine blood volume in them. These two types of fitness watches have proven to be the most effective.
Previous studies had shown the efficacy of screening for atrial fibrillation using sports watches, but now it’s different depending on gender, age, etc. Perhaps now fitness watches will appear in official recommendations for public health, and insurance companies will begin to recoup their costs. Meanwhile, doctors recommend ECG or pulse palpation, which requires a visit to the clinic and increases the burden on healthcare.