European Society of Cardiology

European Society of Cardiology

September 06, 2019
2 min read

Wearable smart devices effectively identify patients with suspected AF

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PARIS — A mobile app using photoplethysmography via smartwatch technology successfully identified individuals in China with suspected atrial fibrillation, and a majority of those identified as having AF were successfully anticoagulated after follow-up with clinicians, according to the results of the HUAWEI Heart Study.

The photoplethysmography technology (Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.) in combination with monitoring for at least 14 days using a smart wristband (Honor Band, Huawei) or wristwatch (Huawei Watch GT or Honor Watch, Huawei) may be a feasible method for AF screening, Yundai Chen, MD, PhD, of PLA Memorial Hospital, Beijing, said during a presentation at the European Society of Cardiology Congress.

“Up until now, we have had to face a very big burden for atrial fibrillation management, especially in China,” she said during the presentation. “Low detection and low adherence to atrial fibrillation management also present challenges. [Photoplethysmography] technology combined with mobile health technology can do some of the screening for atrial fibrillation, and be combined with the integration of a clinical pathway, but we have had limited data on this.”

According to the study simultaneously published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 187,912 Chinese individuals (mean age, 35 years; 87% men) used smart devices to monitor pulse rhythm between Oct. 26, 2018 and May 20, 2019.

The photoplethysmography algorithm identified participants with possible AF, and AF was further confirmed in 424 people (0.23% of total users; mean age, 54 years; 87% men), who received a suspected AF notification (positive predictive value of photoplethysmography signals, 91.6%; 95% CI, 91.5-91.8). Among those individuals, 262 received effective follow-up, 87% of whom were confirmed as having AF (positive predictive value, 86.6%; 95% CI, 82-90.2).

Most cases of AF were detected within 2 weeks, and automatic periodic measurements were more likely to detect suspected AF episodes than active measurements, Chen said during the presentation.

Most individuals identified as having AF were enrolled in an integrated AF management program using a mobile AF app, and approximately 80% of those deemed to be at high risk were anticoagulated, according to the researchers.

In other findings, the incidence of both suspected AF and identified AF was higher in older individuals (P for trend < .001).

“Continuous home-monitoring with smart device-based [photoplethysmography] technology is a feasible approach for screening and early detection of AF in a large population,” Chen said during the presentation. “This could help out efforts at screening and detection of AF, as well as early interventions to reduce stroke and other AF-related complications.” – by Scott Buzby


Chen Y, et al. Late-Breaking Science in Imaging and Digital. Presented at: European Society of Cardiology Congress; Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2019; Paris.

Guo Y, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2019.08.019.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.