The Apple Watch measures blood oxygen levels as reliably as a professional oximeter.

PARIS, Oct. 28 (Benin News / EP) –

The smartwatch AppleWatch can measure blood oxygen levels as well as a professional oximeter, with an average difference of less than one percent in readings.

The most recent smartwatch models include among their health functions the recording of the oxygen level in the blood (SpO2).which can detect hypoxia, or low blood oxygen, a condition associated with sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted.

Its advantage over the health tool is that it can be monitored from home, and since it is a watch, it can be worn all day on the wrist, rather than attached to the finger, which facilitates more continuous monitoring.

To know more its level of reliabilitya group of scientists from the Czech Technical University in Prague analyzed a commercial smartwatch, in this case an Apple Watch Series 6, to find out if it is close to that of a professional oximeter (Masimo Radical-7).

The researchers were assisted by 24 healthy people, aged 20 to 28, whose blood oxygen level was measured with the Apple Watch on their left wrist and the professional medical sensor on the ring finger of their left hand. The test was carried out between February and March 2021, at an altitude of 405 meters above sea level. A total of 1,284 valid reading pairs were obtained, out of a total of 1,364.

The analysis shows that “the absolute differences between the means of the SpO2 measurements were small”, when buying those of one device and another. ” The mean absolute difference or bias between the watch and oximeter measurements was less than 1% SpO2. » according to the text of the survey.

Specifically, he explains that “at low oxygen levels, the watch tended to measure higher SpO2 values ​​than the oximeter, and this difference averaged about 1% of the SpO2 for readings below 90%” – a reading considered “clinically relevant”, while levels of 95% or more are considered normal.

The researchers point out that these results were obtained with young and healthy volunteers, and that “ may be different for chronic elderly patients with very prolonged or extreme desaturation.“.

Either way, they believe smartwatches can be “a useful tool for self-care outside of the clinic” for measuring blood oxygen levels.

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