Leading science, research and technology leaders join forces to accelerate REACT-AF Trial

American Heart Association

DALLAS, Aug. 29, 2022

— Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) affecting an estimated 2.5 to 5 million people in the U.S., and can lead to stroke, heart failure and premature death, according to the American Heart Association. The current standard of care for AFib is continuous direct oral anticoagulation therapy which comes with associated risks.

The American Heart Association is collaborating with Northwestern Medicine, through the recently awarded Rhythm Evaluation for AntiCoagulaTion (REACT-AF) trial to determine if novel strategies using Apple Watch can be more effective when treating AFib. The REACT-AF trial is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Apple is supporting the study through a contribution of Apple Watch devices, as well as providing guidance on the development of the study application. Rod S. Passman, M.D., the director of the Center for Arrhythmia Research, Jules J. Reingold Professor of Electrophysiology and a professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago will serve as the lead investigator for the trial. Other investigators will come from Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco.

The REACT-AF trial will compare current standard of care in people with a history of AFib against a precision targeted approach of time-delimited anticoagulation given for a brief period. The treatment will be guided by Apple Watch’s scientifically validated, innovative heart health features and an accompanying app on an iPhone. The goal of the trial is to determine whether this novel strategy can be as effective as the current standard of care for preventing stroke, blood clots and death while reducing the risk of major bleeding associated with the current standard of care.

“New approaches are urgently needed to improve prevention and treatment strategies and enhance outcomes for those living with atrial fibrillation,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Together with Northwestern, we will leverage leading science and wearable technologies to successfully identify atrial fibrillation in a variety of clinical and community settings to seek to improve upon the current standard of care for those people managing this condition.”

According to Dr. Passman, who is also principal investigator and director of the Center for Arrhythmia Research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “REACT-AF represents a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of this common rhythm disorder and is a major step forward in digital health and personalized medicine.”

“We are so inspired by the ways the medical community is using Apple Watch to make new scientific discoveries that further improve their patients’ lives,” said Dr. Sumbul Ahmad Desai, Apple’s Vice President of Health. “Heart health has always been a core focus of Apple Watch and we’re thrilled to explore another opportunity for the powerful sensors in Apple Watch to help patients better manage their AFib treatment through the REACT-AF study.”

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