The Bristol-Myers Squibb-Pfizer Alliance and Fitbit announced they have teamed up to improve the diagnosis and early detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib) for those with an increased risk of stroke.
The companies will work together to create educational content and guidance for people at increased risk for AFib. And after submission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the AFib detection software on Fitbit devices, users will receive information to encourage and inform discussions with their physicians.
“We’re in a new era of healthcare, where we’re not only focused on developing treatments but also looking at the potential of technology and data to help patients learn more about their health,” Angela Hwang, group president, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group, said in a press release. “We are excited about wearables and how our work with BMS and Fitbit may potentially help patients and physicians detect and understand heart rhythm irregularities.”
“At Fitbit, we’re focused on making health more accessible and, through our efforts with the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, we have the potential to support earlier detection of atrial fibrillation, a potentially asymptomatic condition that affects millions of Americans,” added James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “With our continuous, 24/7 on-wrist health tracking capabilities, and our experience delivering personalized, engaging software and services, we believe we can develop content to help bridge the gaps that exist in atrial fibrillation detection, encouraging people to visit their doctor for a prompt diagnosis and potentially reduce their risk of stroke.”
AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat, with approximately 8 million people in the United States projected to be affected by the condition this year — and the number is only expected to rise. Because AFib can be asymptomatic, it can often go undetected, and some studies suggest that more than 25 percent of people find out they have it after they have already suffered a stroke.
“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. “These efforts with Fitbit exemplify not only our unwavering commitment to addressing the evolving needs of patients with atrial fibrillation, but also our dedication to advancing care by embracing technology as a part of routine clinical practice.”