Heartbeat-Tracking Technology Raises Patients’ and Doctors’ Worries

April 20, 2022

(Kaiser Health News) – These products involve some feats of technology. Many use sophisticated optical sensors that peer beneath the skin to monitor how blood volume changes — almost like tracking the tides — and thereby tally heartbeats. Other devices have a miniature electrocardiogram — which records the heart’s electrical activity — embedded. Either method can detect irregular heartbeats — and potentially atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans and drives up the risk of stroke and heart failure. When a person has it, the beating in the heart’s upper chambers is erratic, and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should to the heart’s lower chambers. Still, although the gadgets are a technical achievement, some cardiologists say the information the devices produce isn’t always useful. Notifications from the devices aren’t definitive diagnoses. (Read More)