Can a Smartwatch Detect HOCM?

According to a limited study recently published in Nature, researchers were able to detect obstructive HCM (HOCM) using a noninvasive optical sensor contained in many commercial smartwatches.

How the Technology Works

These watches used photoplethysmography, a noninvasive optical method used to detect blood volume changes in the microvascular bed at the skin surface.  The same technology is used in clinical pulse oximeters and is now widely incorporated in commercial smartwatches that have heart rate detection.

The Study

For this limited study which was included as an adjunct to MyoKardia’s Phase 2 PIONEER-HCM study of the the drug mavacamten (formerly known as MYK-461), 5 HCM centers in the US obtained smart watch data and echocardiograms from 19 HCM patients who had left ventricular outflow tract obstruction. The researchers compared these readings to readings from a control group of 64 healthy volunteers. The researchers were able to identify significant differences between the heartbeats of those patients with HOCM and those of the healthy volunteers.

Potential for Widespread Use

Before this technology can be put into widespread use, more research is needed to support this limited sample. However, in the future, this technology could potentially prove to be an easy and inexpensive way to screen people for obstructive HCM.

 

 

 

 

 

DISCLOSURES:  HCMBEAT HAS RECEIVED UNRESTRICTED EDUCATIONAL GRANTS FROM MYOKARDIA.  ADDITIONALLY, CYNTHIA BURSTEIN WALDMAN OF HCMBEAT SERVES AS A PATIENT ADVISOR ON THE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR MYOKARDIA’S EXPLORER TRIAL.

Doc With HCM Himself Was Myectomy Pioneer

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Pioneer by Camgee https://openclipart.org/detail/218350/pioneer

This story is fascinating.  Dr. Andrew  Morrow, a cardiac surgeon at the National Institute of Health from 1953 until his death in 1982, was a HCM patient himself. Dr. Morrow was the first surgeon to do myectomy surgery.  According to the article, Dr. Morrow was diagnosed by his colleague, Eugene Braunwald, at approximately the same time he pioneered myectomy surgery.