The AliveCor KardiaBand, a sensor compatible with the Apple Watch, can detect dangerous levels of potassium in blood with 94 percent accuracy. Though the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved KardiaBand for this purpose, it's an interesting step forward considering that, right now, the condition is usually caught using invasive blood tests that use needles.
The KardiaBand [alivecor.com] by AliveCor is a sensor that snaps into a slot on the watchband. The user touches the sensor, which then takes a reading of the electrical activity of the heart, called an electrocardiogram (EKG). This reading can reveal abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib), and the sensor sends the information to an app. Yesterday, at the American College of Cardiology conference in Florida [acc.org], AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra presented research done with the Mayo Clinic showing that the same technology can detect too-high levels of potassium in the blood, called hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia can be caused by, among other things, diabetes, dehydration, and chronic kidney disease. It can lead to kidney and heart failure and in general doesn't cause obvious symptoms — meaning you could have the condition and not know it.
[...] Some previous research [annemergmed.com] [DOI: 10.1016/S0196-0644(05)81476-3] [DX [doi.org]] has suggested that EKGs may not be a good way to diagnose hyperkalemia, but, to be fair, that research was very limited and tested two human physicians. Another study suggested that EKG readings may not be sensitive enough [asnjournals.org] [open, DOI: 10.2215/CJN.04611007] [DX [doi.org]] to catch everyone with hyperkalemia and that the condition doesn't always cause a different EKG reading.
Also at 9to5Mac [9to5mac.com].
Related: Apple's Watch Can Detect an Abnormal Heart Rhythm With 97% Accuracy, UCSF Study Says [soylentnews.org]
Apple Watch Could be Used to Detect Hypertension and Sleep Apnea [soylentnews.org]
FDA Approves First Medical Device Accessory for the Apple Watch [soylentnews.org]