Preventing a heart attack with a smartwatch is possible

Who would have told us a few years ago that a smartwatch could save our lives. Today we can say that this assumption that seemed impossible has become a reality thanks to the research carried out by one of the cardiologists of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid, Dr. Miguel Ángel Cobos. And it all started in the most unexpected way: "I gave my wife an Apple Watch and some time later, playing with him, I realized that I obtained electrocardiographic records of extraordinary quality. Also, by putting it in different parts of the body, which are the ones that the cardiologists explored with the different leads, I realized that the record was also very good since it was practically the same as we obtained with a conventional electrocardiogram. "

What started as a game soon became one of the medical studies that has had the most impact in recent weeks since the finding is unusual, that a watch that serves to entertain us and measure our physical activity can be decisive when performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) for a professional – essential test to diagnose a heart attack among other pathologies – "ECG remains the most important diagnostic technique to know some of the most important pathologies. It is irreplaceable for the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias, which are very frequent. AND it is the fundamental tool for the diagnosis of acute coronary heart disease, heart attack, angina pectoris and myocardial infarction, "explains the doctor.

Get an electro at home (or wherever), is it possible?

Specifically, the latest Apple Watch models, series 4 and 5, allow you to measure the activity of the heart by detecting problems such as bradycardia, tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. "We could say that the Apple Watch incorporates more than an electrocardiogram, a system to monitor the heart rate and diagnose atrial fibrillation," says Dr. Cobos. "Our contribution is the first step on a path that I believe is extraordinarily promising: empower the patient so that at any place and at any time he can perform a complete ECG, that is, a test with all the diagnostic potential that ECG has that you could have done in the hospital, "he adds.

Let's get in situation. We are on a plane and one of the passengers has symptoms of having a heart attack, could your smartwatch help you for your diagnosis? The answer is clear according to this study, yes. "Right now there are 15 million Apple Watch in the world and in any meeting or situation someone can have one that will allow you to do an ECG … this is extraordinary! Have this information before the emergency service for example, in a distant place, it seems to me really a very important contribution, "the doctor tells us. But beware, as long as this happens with an expert, cardiologist or doctor nearby since not everyone can know these data: "You can perform the electro and then send it to a doctor or cardiologist to interpret it".

How to perform an ECG with a smartwatch?

To run a ECG 12 leads are needed to have a general conclusion and a diagnosis of any cardiac pathology, that is why, in order to perform an ECG with a smartwatch we should position it on the 12 parts of the body that require cardiologists to perform this test. But the research of Dr. Miguel Ángel Cobos continues and what is expected in the future is to facilitate this process even more: "We are working on lines related to this research. The first is to simplify the registration so that instead of resorting to 12 referrals, with 3 records made in specific points of the patient's chest we can reconstruct said conventional electrocardiogram leads. At the same time, the diagnostic profitability of the Apple watch is also being defined more precisely in very specific situations such as acute coronary syndrome… we are beginning to collaborate with Apple in this regard and it has a very promising future, ”Dr. Cobos tells us .

Without a doubt, this is good news for the prevention of the diagnosis of heart attack and other coronary diseases that we can even monitor with our smart watch, yes, always under the supervision of a professional.

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