Scientific report published in Nature magazine, one of the most important in the world, shows that the Apple Watch Series 6 is “a reliable way to get heart rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2) in patients with controlled lung disease.”
Study from University of Sao Paulo, one of the most prestigious Brazilian educational institutions, was conducted with 100 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and interstitial lung disease from an outpatient pneumological clinic. He collected SpO2 and heart rate data with the Apple Watch 6 Series and compared them to two commercial pulse oximeters.
The study noted “strong positive correlations between Apple Watch devices and commercial oximeters. It is noted that “there was no statistical difference in the assessment of skin color, wrist circumference, the presence of wrist hair and enamel nail for SpO2, and that speed measurements were heard in the Apple Watch or commercial oximeter devices.”
The tests were performed on healthy people, people with interstitial lung disease (ILB) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They noticed that:
- Strong positive correlations between the Apple Watch Series 6 and commercial oximeters when evaluating heart rate measurements and oximetry measurements;
- The Apple Watch tends to have higher SpO2 values than commercial oximeters, however, heart rate measurements were similar on both devices;
- In different groups, ILD, COPD, and healthy individuals, the study found no significant differences between the Apple Watch and commercial oximeter parameters, SpO2, and heart rate.
Overall, the study says that “despite the tendency to present higher values compared to conventional oximetric devices, the Apple Watch device was accurate and similar,” although it is important to note that the results were made “under controlled conditions”.
The study concludes by saying that “advances in smartwatch technology continue to improve and that studies should be conducted to assess accuracy and reliability in different types of disease.”
The Apple Watch Series 6 was first introduced in 2020. Unlike the Apple Watch Series 4, which required government approval to record an ECG, Apple says its blood oxygen measurement feature is not medically approved and is only for the benefit of users.
Although studies like this one conducted by the USP show that the Apple Watch works great by helping people have control over their well-being.
The Apple Watch Series 7, which Apple is yet to release, has the ability to measure blood oxygen, although it’s not clear if there’s an upgrade over last year’s model.
The study “Comparison of SpO2 and heart rate values on Apple Watch and conventional commercial oximeter devices in patients with lung disease” was conducted by Leonardo Zumerkorn Pipek, Rafaela Farias Vidigal Nascimento, Milena Marques Pagliarelli Acencio and Lisete Ribeiro Teixeira. You can read the complete report here.
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