News | Wearables | October 17, 2019

Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance, Fitbit Team Up on Atrial Fibrillation Detection

Companies focused on atrial fibrillation and wearable technology to develop educational content around AFib to help identify and support those at increased risk of stroke

Fitbit trackers could help detect atrial fibrillation

October 17, 2019 — The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance and Fitbit announced at the TIME 100 Health Summit in New York that they are working together to help drive timely diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The partnership has the aim of improving earlier detection in individuals at increased risk of stroke. The BMS-Pfizer Alliance and Fitbit plan to collaborate on the development of educational content and guidance to support people at increased risk for AFib. Upon submission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the AFib detection software on Fitbit devices, the parties will aim to provide users with appropriate information to help encourage and inform discussions with their physicians.

AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat and is a significant risk factor for stroke.1,2 Approximately 8 million people in the United States are projected to be affected by AFib in 2019.3 As the U.S. population ages, this number is expected to rise, as adults aged 65 and older are at an increased risk of developing the condition.3 Because AFib can be asymptomatic, it can often go undetected, and some studies suggest that more than 25 percent of people who have the condition find out after they have a stroke.1,4

Wearable technology has continued to become more integrated in the healthcare landscape5 as people have recognized the value that 24/7 health tracking can have for people of any age or health status, including those at increased risk for specific conditions. Yet, those who use wearables to track their heart rhythm may lack the education or guidance on what to do with the data gathered from their device.6

“Too many people discover that they are suffering from atrial fibrillation only after experiencing a stroke. In fact, some studies suggest that this is true for more than 25 percent of people who have the condition,” said Joseph Eid, M.D., head of medical affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb. 

For more information: www.bms.com

Reference

1.  CDC. Atrial Fibrillation Fact Sheet. Accessed March 2019. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_atrial_fibrillation.htm.

2. Cleveland Clinic. Know Your Risk Factors for Stroke. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/13398-know-your-risk-factors-for-stroke. Accessed Aug. 28, 2019

3. Colilla S., Crow A., Petkun W., et al. Estimates of Current and Future Incidence and Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation in the U.S. Adult Population. American Journal of Cardiology. 2013;112:1142-1147

4. Freedman B., Potpara T.S., Lip G.Y. Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Lancet. 2016;388:806–817

5. Cheung C.C., Krahn A.D., Andrade J.G. The Emerging Role of Wearable Technologies in Detection of Arrhythmia. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2018;34:1083-1087.

6. Knowles B., Smith A., Poursabzi-Sangdeh F., et al. Attending to the Problem of Uncertainty in Current and Future Health Wearables. Communications of the ACM. 2018:1-6.

7. Freedman B., Potpara T.S., Lip G.Y.H. "Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation," The Lancet 388, no. 10046 (2016): , doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(16)31257-0.

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