back to article Blood pressure monitor won't arrive for Apple Watch before 2024 – report

While Apple engineers continue adding health-related features to its smartwatch range, its blood-pressure monitoring system won't be ready until 2024 at the earliest, it is reported. Early tests show the iGiant's Watch sensor and software technology to determine whether a wearer has high blood pressure or not isn't very …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    ...measure blood glucose levels using non-invasive methods...

    An excellent idea; invasive methods are so vague[0] - because they're typically performed once a day, and even in blood sugar measurements, Nyquist will win - that a non-invasive method of instantaneous measurement will probably make a lot of people very happy.

    (Though I'd prefer it didn't come with all the baggage of an apple 'watch' but it's likely that the technology will find its way into other devices. And we might hope that unlike HbA1c tests it's not confused if you happen to be missing a spleen).

    [0] As in, it's accurate, but only for the time at which it is taken. It gives little or no information as to trends over time. If you want to manage your blood sugar, you really need to be able to sample faster than it changes significantly.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: ...measure blood glucose levels using non-invasive methods...

      Invasive meaning drawing a small drop of blood, many folk do it several times a day and if you have something like a Freestyle Libre, then an implanted fibre in your interstitial layer is monitoring constantly. Measuring the glucose in the blood without directly sampling it seems a bit measuring the temperature inside a room within a thermometer in a different room.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: ...measure blood glucose levels using non-invasive methods...

        Yes, I was one of those people who was initially instructed to sample once a day... for a measurement that changes significantly in minutes.

        Isn't the interstitial layer probe sampling without touching? Just under the skin instead of over it?

        I believe there is research looking at sugar products in surface sweat, but personally I'm looking forward to when the doctors will be able to grow me a new pancreas. A new spleen would be nice, too...

        1. dave 76

          Re: ...measure blood glucose levels using non-invasive methods...

          If I am just doing finger prick tests, I am testing 8-10 times per day.

          If I have a CGM on, that is sampling every 5 minutes so 288 times per day.

          You can do more trending and tighter control with more data.

          CGM/Libre is expensive though and if any smartwatch came out out with a reasonably accurate measurement system, I would be in the queue on Day 1.

  2. redpawn

    I don't care if it's reliable,

    just give me a number. And while you are at it, let me know if it is raining outside.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well...

    As long as they don't use the same method as Theranos...

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Well...

      I was thinking they'd bought Theranos' intellectual property.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Coming in 2024?

    As will a few dozen lawsuits saying that El Fruity stole their patented technology

    I wonder how many lawyers all over the world make their entire income from filing suit against Apple?

    Any guesses?

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Coming in 2024?

      And the lawsuits claiming that as the Apple Medic (or whatever it gets called) said my blood pressure was ok, I didn't see a doctor and so had a stroke or heart attack.

      A few years ago I was diagnosed with a Basal Cell Carcinoma (the mildest form of skin cancer, doesn't spread, easy to treat by removal). I had the op, all ok. A year or so after the op, I found a hard lump on one of my toes. No lump on the corresponding toe on the other foot, and was convinced I had bone cancer, but I controlled my panic. (I am prone to panic, so I did well there). Booked an appointment to see a doctor, and he said, after probing it with his fingers that he thought it was 'mobile' (i.e., not attached to anything) and would probably just go away of its own accord. But that I had done the right thing in asking about it.

      A few months later and it had completely disappeared.

      If you think you may have a medical problem go see a qualified doctor. There are lots of things that can go wrong with you that can be treated effectively, but an incorrect diagnosis can be very bad. I recently had a blood test as I've been lethargic and getting a lot of coughs and sneezes for the last few months. Turns out I'm way below the ranges for vitamin D and Folic Acid, so now starting to feel better for taking the tablets (vitamins should always betaken with food, BTW).

      Also, does Apple intend to record the data of people's blood pressure?

      As for erratic heartbeats - I get that whenever I watch the news these days.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Coming in 2024?

        You can have a heart attack even if you have normal blood pressure, and a doctor telling you "your blood pressure is normal" does not open him up to lawsuits if you later have a heart attack.

        Anyway there will be plenty of disclaimers that you still need to see a doctor regularly or if you experience any symptoms like chest pain or numbness. Heck even the at home blood pressure cuffs have a lot of disclaimers attached - they aren't getting sued.

        But yeah I know I know, someone will probably try to sue Apple anyway, because they'll find a lawyer who wants his name in the press and won't care he knows it is a losing case from the start.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Only tangentially related:

    I thought of how the Fitbit or Watch can further aid the user... and thought of it directing a passer-by to to the nearest defibrillator (after they've rung for paramedics, of course).

    The first site Google shows, heartsafe org uk, doesn't have the first four defibrillators I looked for. Nor does the Google Maps app. The next site Google suggests, https://www.nddb.uk/ , has three out of the four defibrillators I searched for.

    Even then, the map showed one defibrillator as being thirty yards away from its true location, on the opposite side of a lane.

    Takehome: 1. Google is promoting a useless defibrillator-finding website to the top of its search results.

    2. Even the more responsible website could do with some tightening-up of locations.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Only tangentially related:

      I'd never though to look but...

      Heartsafe I guess mainly display ones they've supplied. It picks up a local company but not the "public" one in the village. NDDB doesn't show either.

      Looking at a nearby town Heartsafe shows one but suggests it's inside a store when I know it's outside on the wall, NDDB doesn't show that one at all.

      So basically if you don't already know where the defib is located the casualty may well die.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only tangentially related:

        The best way I've come across to locate the nearest is the "Alerter" app - it seems to be pretty complete.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Only tangentially related:

      A person that is in AF doesn't really need any device to tell them. It feels like there is a panicking bird flapping around in your chest, trying to escape.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it's not measurements

    These devices measure estimate the data via an algorithm based on multiple sensor data. My Fitbit does reasonable estimates but if you go to the Fitbit site and look at all the user reports it's clear that the estimates can be affected by a lot of things, hairy wrists, wet wrists, loose watches etc., etc.

    But I look at the data that my Fitbit collects and I'm comfortable with it's estimates and most of the reports but they are not medical reports - it's not a medical device.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: it's not measurements

      Not a difficult calculation - you've done fewer than 2000 steps per day for the last year. Therefore, you're probably fat, have high blood pressure and at risk of diabetes!

    2. Little Mouse

      Re: it's not measurements

      Blood pressure should be easy to measure with a wristwatch. They just need a way to inflate/deflate the strap.

      Admit it, it would be pretty cool.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        Re: it's not measurements

        You mean, something like this?

        https://omronhealthcare.com/products/heartguide-wearable-blood-pressure-monitor-bp8000m/

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: it's not measurements

        A couple of years ago, I bought a cheap Chinese Fitbit knockoff because it claimed to monitor blood pressure. The good news. It does. The bad news. It wasn't very accurate. Its estimate of pulse rate looked about right, but the systolic and diastolic BP were typically off by 10 or 15 mm Hg compared to an Omron wrist monitor. Not quite good enough to be useful I think. But kind of impressive. And probably indicative that a "wristwatch" BP monitor is possible with enough R&D.

        BTW, it didn't/doesn't use a cuff. It shines a couple of bright green LEDs(?) when it's measuring BP.

        1. Paul Kinsler

          Re: it's not measurements

          Hmm, I wonder if it could give better results if you tried to calibrate it against/with a traditional BP measurement... were the errors systematic, or random...?

          1. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: it's not measurements

            Paul. The errors appeared to be non-random, but not consistent -- which is to say the readings were fairly consistent on successive measurements -- as consistent as BP measurements ever are, but the direction and size of the error when compared to the Omron wrist cuff value varied from day to day. I've checked the Omron against conventional measurements and it's not all that bad -- off by maybe 5 mmHg typically, as long as one knows to keep their wrist at heart level while measuring. Not great, but much better than the notoriously inaccurate readings from the self-test devices sometimes found in drug stores.

  7. Ken G Silver badge
    Trollface

    I've seen people jogging with their phone strapped around their upper arm

    just glad to know what that was all about.

  8. Steve Aubrey
    Meh

    Which way?

    "the system was able to detect atrial fibrillation correctly about 98 percent of the time"

    Wonder if the two percent were false positives or false negatives. One could be a bit of a bother. The other could turn you into a long-term coffin inspector - inside job, of course.

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    An Apple

    An Apple a day[Watch] keeps the Doctor at bay[on call]

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