Cardiogram integrates with Garmin wearables for heart health insights

By Laura Lovett
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Garmin wearable users now have the option to gain deeper insights into the their heart health, following an announcement that the consumer tech company' wearables will have the ability to integrate with heart health app Cardiogram.

“Many users have asked Cardiogram to support Garmin wearables. By directly integrating through the Garmin Health API, Cardiogram has access to the wide array of advanced metrics these devices generate,” Johnson Hsieh, cofounder of Cardiogram, said in a statement. “Garmin devices are great because they give us high-resolution, accurate data and the higher resolution, the more accurate DeepHeart can become.” 

The heart health-focused startup has been gaining recognition for its Deep Heart technology, which uses a deep neural network and machine learning to predict heart disease. The company got its start by integrating with Apple Watches and has since gone through a slew of validation studies. 

Most recently, the company published a study which suggests that when the Deep Heart technology is integrated with a wearable tracker it can detect diabetes and other medical conditions. The Deep Heart technology has also been shown to detect hypertension and sleep apnea, according to a study that was conducted by Cardiogram in partnership with UC San Francisco’s Health eHeart Study, and atrial fibrillation, according to a JAMA study published in March

“There's a surprising amount of signal in the humble heart rate sensor. In a sequence of studies with UC San Francisco's Cardiology department, Cardiogram has shown that optical heart rate sensors, when combined with a deep neural network, can accurately detect multiple major health conditions including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and atrial fibrillation,” Brandon Ballinger, cofounder of Cardiogram, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. “As part of the launch, Garmin owners may opt-in to join Cardiogram's research study with UCSF Cardiology.  By using the high-resolution, accurate heart rate data from Garmin devices, Cardiogram can make its algorithm more accurate, potentially saving lives using ordinary consumer wearables.”

Garmin users now have the ability to connect their wearable to Cardiogram and get information about their heart rate, step count, and sleep data, which can automatically sync to their watch via the Garmin Connect app, according to a blog post by Cardiogram

“Cardiogram trained a deep neural network, DeepHeart, on more than 30 billion heart rate and step count measurements from 14,011 study participants, including 2,230 people with hypertension, 1,016 with sleep apnea, 462 with diabetes, and 347 with atrial fibrillation,” Ballinger wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews. “On a held-out set of participants not used during training, DeepHeart achieved accuracies (c-statistics) of 82 percent at detecting hypertension, 90 percent for sleep apnea, 85 percent for diabetes, and 97 percent for atrial fibrillation. This worked because your autonomic nervous system connects your heart with your pancreas, blood vessels, and other internal organs, so that each disease creates a distinctive pattern of heart rate variability.”

When the app is integrated with Garmin it can be used in conjunction with android phones or with an iPhone. The blog notes that the iPhone only updates once a day but the company is working on making it sync more often. 

“In the long term, we think wearables will save lives. People love to engage with their heart rate data day-to-day. The average user opens Cardiogram three times per day,”  Hsieh said in a statement. “Your heart rate changes from minute-to-minute, and it reflects everything that happens in your life.”