Smartwatches can report COVID-19 disease even before symptoms appear. American scientists told about this in an interview with CBS News.
Doctors at the Mount Sinai Medical Complex in New York have used smartwatches to diagnose coronavirus early and fight the disease. In particular, devices manufactured by Apple, Garmin and Fitbit helped identify early signs of infection. Doctors said that with the help of smart gadgets, it is possible to determine the presence of COVID-19 seven days before the onset of symptoms and deterioration of well-being.
In their study, doctors monitored heart rate variability in patients, that is, a change in the intervals between the onset of two cardiac cycles. This indicator can demonstrate the quality of the immune system. In particular, scientists have named low heart rate variability as one of the hallmarks of coronavirus. In contrast, high variability usually indicates that a person's nervous system is active and copes well with stress.
Scientists monitored the condition of 300 Mount Sinai healthcare workers who wore Apple Watch from April 29 to September 29. The study found that the data collected by the watch on low heart rate variability were indicative of COVID-19 infection. Experts noted the benefits of gadgets, as more than half of the sick in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), were infected with asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus.
A separate study from Stanford University found that 81 percent of patients noticed a change in heart rate approximately nine and a half days before testing positive for coronavirus. Patients in the experiment wore trackers and watches from Garmin, Fitbit and Apple. The study found that an extremely high heart rate indicated the onset of symptoms.
Experts advise owners of smartwatches to configure them so that the device beeps when it detects an increased heart rate or atypical variability. “This is a big deal, because alerted patients know they need to stay at home,” said Stanford University professor Michael Snyder. According to him, one day the scientist's clock was notified of a high pulse, and the specialist canceled all meetings for the near future.
Snyder said that smartwatches with a heart rate monitor help monitor health around the clock, while without them, a person is unlikely to measure their heart rate often. “Collected from wearable devices, markers allow us to identify disease in a non-invasive way,” said Rob Hirten, assistant professor at Mount Sinai Medical Complex.