Accuracy of a Standalone Atrial Fibrillation Detection Algorithm Added to a Popular Wristband and Smartwatch: Prospective Diagnostic Accuracy Study

Background: Silent paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) may be difficult to diagnose, and AF burden is hard to establish. In contrast to conventional diagnostic devices, photoplethysmography (PPG)–driven smartwatches or wristbands allow for long-term continuous heart rhythm assessment. However, most smartwatches lack an integrated PPG-AF algorithm. Adding a standalone PPG-AF algorithm to these wrist devices might open new possibilities for AF screening and burden assessment. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of a well-known standalone PPG-AF detection algorithm added to a popular wristband and smartwatch, with regard to discriminating AF and sinus rhythm, in a group of patients with AF before and after cardioversion (CV). Methods: Consecutive consenting patients with AF admitted for CV in a large academic hospital in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, were asked to wear a Biostrap wristband or Fitbit Ionic smartwatch with Fibricheck algorithm add-on surrounding the procedure. A set of 1-min PPG measurements and 12-lead reference electrocardiograms was obtained before and after CV. Rhythm assessment by the PPG device-software combination was compared with the 12-lead electrocardiogram. Results: A total of 78 patients were included in the Biostrap-Fibricheck cohort (156 measurement sets) and 73 patients in the Fitbit-Fibricheck cohort (143 measurement sets). Of the measurement sets, 19/156 (12%) and 7/143 (5%), respectively, were not classifiable by the PPG algorithm due to bad quality. The diagnostic performance in terms of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy was 98%, 96%, 96%, 99%, 97%, and 97%, 100%, 100%, 97%, and 99%, respectively, at an AF prevalence of ~50%. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the addition of a well-known standalone PPG-AF detection algorithm to a popular PPG smartwatch and wristband without integrated algorithm yields a high accuracy for the detection of AF, with an acceptable unclassifiable rate, in a semicontrolled environment.

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