Google’s Novel Fitbit Feature Makes Detection Of AFib Easy

Jun, 2022 - By SMI

Google’s Novel Fitbit Feature Makes Detection Of AFib Easy

The U.S. FDA granted clearance to new PPG (photoplethysmography) algorithm for identifying atrial fibrillation (AFib), and this algorithm powers new Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification feature on Fitbit

A new feature of Google’s Fitbit that is designed for constantly monitoring heart rhythms of a user for detecting atrial fibrillation received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The roll out of this new feature is based on a study conducted in last year where it was found that the new Fitbit algorithm detected 98% of irregular heart rhythms accurately.

This new feature monitors heartbeat of a user with the use of photoplethysmography (PPG) of Fitbit and the new algorithm constantly tracks the data for atrial fibrillation signs. When the system identifies an issue it sends notification of irregular heart rhythm and recommends the user to get further medical attention. Last year researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital conducted clinical trial on more than 450,000 fitbit users. This trial further followed up atrial fibrillation’s PPG detection using ECG (electrocardiogram) patch to monitor and validate the results. This study found that the Fitbit algorithm detected 98% of atrial fibrillation that were verified using ECG monitoring after a week.

The FDA approval for this new Fitbit feature brought the device in competition with Apple Watch that was approved by FDA for similar features that monitor atrial fibrillation. Although, both the devices consists incorporated ECG features to conduct atrial fibrillation tests whenever needed, these approvals are first to grant permission for passive continuous heart monitoring on wearable devices. As reported by Google, this new feature in Fitbit is expected to be introduced to all devices in the U.S. in near the future. However, this feature is not recommended for people under 22 years of age.

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