Be Smart With Your Heart: Smart Devices and AFib

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Be Smart with Your Heart: Smart Devices and AFib

There are several smart (electronic) devices on the market today that can help indicate the presence of AFib or other abnormal heartbeats.

 

  • Atrial Fibrillation or AFib is an abnormal heart rhythm, which is irregular and may be fast.
  • Symptoms can include chest pounding, fluttering, shortness of breath, dizziness, or feeling faint. Some people have no symptoms at all.
  • It can occur in 9% of people over the age of 65.
  • Your risk of AFib increases with age, obesity, high blood pressure, excess alcohol, and untreated sleep apnea.
  • AFib increases your risk of stroke by 5 times.
  • Some people go in and out of AFib. This is called Paroxysmal AFib.
  • Others stay in AFib for long periods of time. This is called Persistent AFib.
  • The risk of stroke remains elevated, regardless of your type of AFib, and depends on your other health conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, age, heart or vascular disease, and prior stroke).
  • A blood thinner may be prescribed to reduce your stroke risk.
  • Best diagnosed by a health care provider.
  • AFib is confirmed by an EKG or outpatient heart monitor worn for a period of time.
  • Smart phones, watches, or similar devices can help your health care provider differentiate possible heart rhythm abnormalities and guide further evaluation and treatment

 

smart device

 

Common Questions About Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) and Smart Devices
  • While most people do not need to check their heart rate regularly, those
    with, or at risk for, AFib, may benefit from frequent checks.
  • Smart devices are commonly used to track activity but may also be used
    to check heart rate and rhythm.
  • Smart devices are not a substitute for medical devices, but may be
    useful to track and store clinical data to share with your clinician.
  • Many smart devices detect and record heart rate and rhythm and may spot changes over time.
  •  Your heart rate can go up for many reasons such as a fever or exercise.
  • Abrupt changes in heart rate, or an irregular heartbeat, may trigger an alert on a smart device and signify an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Contact a clinician if you notice changes that concern you, or are having symptoms such as chest pounding, fluttering, shortness of breath, dizziness, or feeling faint.
  •  Most smart devices come with a mobile app that collects and tracks information.
  • A significant change over time, or repeating events, may be a cause for concern.
  • This information may help your clinicians understand what’s going on and decide on next steps.
  •  If you’re not feeling well or have a rapid heart rate, dizziness, chest pounding, fluttering, or flopping in your heart.
  • If you get a notification, such as “possible atrial fibrillation,” from your device, or something is not normal with your heart rate, rhythm, or blood pressure.
  • Do not start, stop, or make any changes to your medication without speaking to a health care provider.

 

patient

More detailed information about smart devices and your health can be found in Guidance for Wearable Health Solutions (Published by the Consumer Technology Association in partnership with the Heart Rhythm Society, Jan. 2020) available at research@CTA.tech.

Additional AFib Resources
  • Heart Rhythm Society: Guide to Atrial Fibrillation Information for Patients Preventive
  • Cardiovascular Nurses Association: What is Atrial Fibrillation?
  • StopAfib.org: Information and Support for Patients by Patients
  • Cardiosmart: Atrial Fibrillation Overview
  • American Heart Association: What is Afib? Arrythmia Alliance: Awareness, Support, Information and Education

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