A leading wearable activity tracker providing company, Fitbit recently announced the launch of an extensive study to authenticate the use of its technology for detecting atrial fibrillation. The company is planning to enroll a significant number of people for the virtual study.
Reportedly, the study is aimed at testing the efficacy of Fitbit’s technology for identifying irregular heart rhythms, which may aid in indicating potential cases of atrial fibrillation in humans. The study will also compare the accuracy of alert to detect AFib offered by Fitbit as compared to a physician-interpreted ECG patch.
For the record, Fitbit had plans to submit its AFib algorithm for FDA clearance in 2018. The firm has been offering heart rate monitoring solutions in its wearable activity trackers for years now, and the trackers use an LED light to quantity how fast blood is moving through a users’ veins.
Dr. Steven Lubitz, a principal investigator of the Fitbit Heart Study, stated that until recently, gears for detecting atrial fibrillation had various limitations and were only accessible through doctors. Lubitz added that advancing research on accessible innovative technology, like Fitbit devices, is likely to lead to development of more tools that will aid in reducing the impact of AFib on a large scale and improve health outcomes.
A study of Fitbit Charge 2 and Apple Watch 3 showed that they were mostly accurate in tracking heart rate. However, they became less accurate during physical activity. Apparently, Fitbit acknowledges this, and also notes that overnight assessments, while a user is sleeping, is ideal for identifying irregular heart rhythm.
The Fitbit Heart study is open to anyone in the United States, from ages 22 or above, having a Fitbit device to track heart rate. The company said the study will be facilitating clinical evaluation of its atrial fibrillation algorithm, which would include identifying whether it can successfully detect episodes of irregular heart rhythm.