Heart Rhythm Society
Heart Rhythm Society
June 05, 2015
2 min read

ECG sensors on smartphones detect AF in general population

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BOSTON — Smartphone-enabled ECG sensors can detect atrial fibrillation in the general adult public, according to study data presented at the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.

Researchers studied 865 participants who were provided with a smartphone-enabled ECG sensor (AliveCor) and consented to have ECG and heart rate data evaluated. The device records a 30-second ECG and wirelessly transmits it to a secure cloud-based server, and participants were asked to download an app that facilitated ECG acquisition and access to ECG interpretation.

Leslie A. Saxon, MD

Leslie A. Saxon

Leslie A. Saxon, MD, executive director of the University of Southern California Center for Body Computing, and colleagues studied the users’ (mean age, 39 years; 55% men) experience with and without use of the device during a 6-month period. At five points during the study period, participants answered Web-based surveys.

During the study period, the 865 participants transmitted 57,703 ECGs (mean recordings per participant, 83; mean duration of use, 91 days), Saxon and colleagues reported. Thirteen percent of participants reported chronic health conditions and 3% reported taking any medication.

The average heart rate was 75 ± 19 bpm and was faster in men compared with women (78 ± 20 bpm vs. 74 ± 16 bpm; P = .005). Men reported a higher level of activity (P = .007) and women had a higher average maximum heart rate (124 ± 37 bpm vs. 116 ± 35 bpm; P = .01), according to the researchers.

AF was detected in 185 recordings from 93 participants (11%).

After 30 days of use, 73% of participants stated that they were more aware of their heart rate and behavior.

“Having an ECG device on smartphones is quite incredible because it makes tracking heart health and behavior accessible to almost anyone,” Saxon said in a press release. “The experience of using an ECG device through a smartphone creates opportunities for people to truly pay attention and understand their heart rhythm. Not only does using these type of smartphone apps allow the patient to be more informed, but it also allows their physician the ability to access and analyze real-world data, which can ultimately help improve treatment and overall quality of care.”

According to the study background, more than 36 million Americans use body-worn sensors for activity and heart-rate tracking, and that number is expected to climb to 135 million by 2018. – by Erik Swain


Saxon LA, et al. Abstract PO04-47. Presented at: Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions; May 13-16, 2015; Boston.

Disclosure: Saxon reports receiving a research grant from AliveCor.