Portable devices can identify COVID-19 cases earlier than traditional diagnostic methods and help track and improve disease management, according to research conducted by the Mount Sinai Health System in New York.
The research, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on January 29, tracked the subtle changes in a participant's heart rate variation, measured with an Apple Watch. Researchers were then able to signal the onset of COVID-19 up to seven days before the individual was diagnosed with the infection via nasal swab or even before symptoms appeared.
The study of 297 healthcare professionals across the Mount Sinai Health System was part of an ongoing digital study conducted between April and September 2020. Participants wore Apple Watches and answered daily questions through a custom app. to predict whether workers were infected with COVID-1
Other daily symptoms collected included fever or chills, fatigue or weakness, body pain, dry cough, sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, sore throat, headache shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste and itchy eyes.
In addition, the researchers found that 7 to 14 days after diagnosis with COVID-19, the heart rate variability of the y-pattern began to normalize and was no longer statistically different from the patterns of those who were not infected.
The use of Apple Watches to track COVID-19 among workers continues, with 500 participants now enrolled in the program, a Mount Sinai spokeswoman said Tuesday.
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