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Tuesday June 6th, 2023

How medical wearables are evolving to better diagnose arrhythmias


Q. What do Miley Cyrus, Joe Biden, Gene Simmons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Christian Eriksen all have in common?

A. A heart rhythm disorder.

In the United States an estimated 2.7 to 6.1 million people have a heart condition called atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common form of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm.

While AFib is more commonly associated with older individuals and those with certain risk factors such as hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes, it can affect people of any age and fitness level.

Some arrhythmias may be harmless, however AFib can lead to stroke, heart failure and other cardiac problems.

Shockingly, health experts estimate that around half of those suffering with AFib are undiagnosed and because it is often asymptomatic, totally unaware of their condition.

A lack of awareness of AFib and other arrhythmias, especially among the undiagnosed, is obviously a major problem both for the individual concerned whose health is at risk but also for wider society. The economic Afib burden in the U.S. is estimated to range from $6.0 – $26.0 billion.

World Heart Rhythm Week is a valuable tool for raising awareness, educating the public and healthcare professionals and driving early diagnoses and better outcomes for patients.

The most effective way to diagnose an arrhythmia is with an electrical recording of your heart rhythm called an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Until now these procedures were most commonly carried out in a clinical setting, but due to the advancements in wearable medical devices they can now be carried out remotely.

An ECG carried out in a clinical setting can only give a snapshot of what is going on with that patient at a particular point in time, while a wearable device with ECG technology inside allows medics to observe the wearer’s heart rhythm over a longer time than the 10-second window of a normal 12-lead ECG, meaning there’s a greater chance of finding atrial fibrillation in someone that has the condition.

B-Secur’s medical grade HeartKey® cloud-based software significantly reduces ECG signal noise, elevating ECG interpretation to new heights of efficiency and accuracy on everyday wearable devices. It also offers a range of FDA-cleared health algorithms and actionable wellness insights as well as universal performance across ECG use cases including Holter monitors, wearables, and implantable devices.

Devices with this kind of software embedded or accessed via the cloud, have the power to put heart health monitoring into the hands of the wearer. Not only can this data be shared directly with health professionals, but it can also be used to help people take decisive action to improve their heart health.

It is technology like this which is helping to drive the growing convergence between the medical and consumer wearable device industries enabling more accurate diagnoses and delivering better outcomes for people with arrhythmias.

In addition to ECG and continuous monitoring here are some other ways in which medical wearables contribute to detecting arrhythmias and preventing CVD:


  1. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Analysis: HRV refers to the variation in time intervals between consecutive heartbeats. Medical wearables can measure HRV and analyze its patterns. Abnormal HRV patterns are indicative of an increased risk of developing CVD or experiencing arrhythmias. By monitoring HRV, wearables can identify potential risks and provide users with actionable insights to make lifestyle changes or seek medical attention.
  2. Early Warning and Alert Systems: Wearables with arrhythmia detection algorithms can recognize irregular heart rhythms and notify the user about potential issues. These devices may provide real-time alerts, such as vibrations or notifications, to prompt the wearer to take appropriate actions or seek medical help.
  3. Data Tracking and Analysis: Medical wearables store heart-related data, allowing users and healthcare professionals to track long-term trends and identify patterns. By analyzing the collected data, wearables can detect subtle changes in heart rhythms that might indicate the onset of arrhythmias or CVD. This information can facilitate early intervention, lifestyle modifications, or medical treatments to prevent further complications.
  4. Health Insights and Recommendations: Medical wearables often provide personalized health insights based on the collected data. They can offer recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise routines, stress management techniques, and sleep patterns. By promoting overall well-being, these wearables contribute to preventing CVD and reducing the risk of arrhythmias.

It is important to note that while medical wearables can assist in detecting arrhythmias and preventing CVD, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. If you suspect any heart-related issues, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and guidance.