Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen has announced a research study using the Apple watch to help improve atrial fibrillation (AFib) outcomes, including stroke prevention, intending to to collaborate with Apple to assess the impact of the wearable technology on earlier detection of AFib, improved diagnosis and patient outcomes.

A new heart health app from Johnson & Johnson will be studied in combination with Apple Watch’s irregular rhythm notifications and ECG app, to see if it can accelerate the diagnosis and improve health outcomes of the 33 million people worldwide living with AFib.

The study plans to measure the outcomes of a heart health engagement program with irregular rhythm notifications on Apple Watch.

The multi-year research program will be launched later in 2019 in the U.S. only, and will be designed as a pragmatic randomised controlled research study for individuals age 65 years or older.

“We’re excited about the potential of common, wearable technology to aid in the earlier detection and prevention of a frequent cause of stroke,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., vice chair of the executive committee and chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson.

He continued, “Too many people living with AFib are unaware of their risk, and earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of AFib could significantly improve outcomes. Based on the insights generated through this research program, we may be able to develop new ways to detect other health conditions earlier in the future that also exhibit measurable physiological symptoms.”

AFib can lead to stroke and other potentially devastating complications. In the U.S. alone, AFib is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalisations every year.