Aim: A variety of consumer-facing wearables, devices and apps are marketed directly to consumers to detect atrial fibrillation (AF). However, their management is not defined. Our aim was to explore their role for AF screening via a survey.
Methods and Results: An anonymous web-based survey was undertaken by 588 health care professionals (HCPs) (response rate 23.7%). Overall, 57% HCPs currently advise wearables/apps for AF detection in their patients: this was much higher for electrophysiologists and nurses/allied health professionals (74-75%) than cardiologists (57%) or other physicians (34-38%). Approximately 46% recommended handheld (portable) single-lead dedicated ECG devices, or, less frequently, wristband ECG monitors with similar differentials between HCPs . Only 10-15% HCPs advised photoplethysmographic wristband monitors or smartphone apps. In over half of the HCP consultations for AF detected by wearables/apps, the decision to screen was entirely the patients. About 45% of HCPs perceive a potential role for AF screening in people aged > 65 years or in those with risk factors. Almost 70% of HCPs believed we are not yet ready for mass consumer-initiated screening for AF using wearable devices/ apps, with patient anxiety, risk of false positives and negatives, and risk of anticoagulant-related bleeding perceived as potential disadvantages, and perceived need for appropriate management pathways.
Conclusions: There is a great potential for appropriate use of consumer-facing wearables/apps for AF screening. However, it appears that there is a need to better define suitable individuals for screening and an appropriate mechanism for managing positive results before they can be recommended by HCPs.
- Atrial fibrillation