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Study says Apple watch may help detect Hyperkalemia in the future

Apple watch has been rolling out several health and fitness features. A set of recent studies indicates that Apple watch may soon become a vital tool in successfully detecting Hyperkalemia — when you have higher levels of Potassium in your blood — and irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation.)

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According to the novel Cleveland Clinic Studies, the medical device accessory for Apple Watch, AliveCor’s KardiaBand when paired with artificial intelligence can detect Hyperkalemia, a condition that occurs due to abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood. The smartband could also detect atrial fibrillation symptoms.

This latest study was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67 Annual Scientific Session.

AliveCor’s KardiaBand — the wristband that monitors EKG — has been making several medical advancements. It is the first medical accessory devised for Apple Watch that won the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance. This is not the first time that the wristband will be used to detect a serious disease. Before this, the band was used to detect cardiac arrhythmia conditions (irregular heartbeats) that trigger stroke.

Hyperkalemia, which is associated with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and congestive heart failure, is a condition that often goes unnoticed because the only the way to detect the condition was through blood tests. The new finding which may soon be commercialized via Apple Watch will bring a change in how people monitor their health and in turn, could help save more lives.

The findings were based on the study that used close to 2 million electrocardiographs (EKGs) taken from 709,000 patients. The data was then paired with 4 million serum potassium values. The researchers then allowed the band to use its own EKG reading and identify the potassium levels. The device was found to be 91-94 percent accurate.

The second test done shows that the smartband could successfully detect atrial fibrillation with 93-94 percent accuracy, matching the accuracy of a physician. When the same data was examined by a physician the accuracy was 99 percent.

Last year there were rumors about Apple developing an advanced EKG heart monitor for the future versions of smartwatch. The company plans to convert its high-end fashion accessory into medical devices.

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