Atrial fibrillation detection feature introduced as Fitbit receives FDA approval
Google-owned company Fitbit receives FDA approval for their new algorithm technology planned to come to their Fitbit devices. This new tech known as atrial fibrillation detection, AFib for short, which in health-related wearables is becoming an increasingly important feature.
Tech giant Google has stated that 33.5 million people worldwide are affected by irregular heartbeat, which increases the risk of stroke by up to 5 times. Following the news that Fitbit receives FDA approval, Google announced on Monday that their new tech will be deployed to its devices in the near future.
While Fitbit devices such as the Fitbit Charge 5 and Fitbit Sense could be used to initiate an atrial fibrillation test with their electrocardiogram sensors, this new atrial fibrillation detection feature would continuously monitor users for indications, considerably boosting the likelihood of a health incident being detected.
Although the Fitbit cannot diagnose a heart condition, it can generate a report if it detects a potential problem. The new atrial fibrillation detection algorithm eliminates the need to schedule scans and will instead automatically check at regular intervals. If the watch detects anything abnormal, it will scan more times to validate it before alerting the user.
Fitbit receives FDA approval after applying back in March and has received validation for their PPG (photoplethysmography) algorithm tech due to their 2020 Heart Study that monitored 450,000 people over five months. Fibit describes how the feature works below, taken from their blog post:
When your heart beats, tiny blood vessels throughout your body expand and contract based on changes in blood volume. Fitbit’s PPG optical heart-rate sensor can detect these volume changes right from your wrist. These measurements determine your heart rhythm, which the detection algorithm then analyzes for irregularities and potential signs of atrial fibrillation.
Soon enough, consumers in the United States will be able to purchase Fitbits utilizing this new tech that should be widely available across the company’s vast range of wearable price points. It’ll still need to be approved in other countries prior to a global launch.