Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 may help measure obstructive sleep apnea

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 Series, which comes with pulse oximeter module, could potentially help measure obstructive sleep apnea, according to a study.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder, estimated to affect up to 38 per cent of the general adult population.

The disorder is generally characterised by repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep, resulting in oxygen desaturation, frequent arousals, and increased sympathetic activity.

Wearable devices are increasingly being used in healthcare to facilitate continuous real-life monitoring of users’ data.

The study, published by Sleep Health journal, found that wrist-worn trackers, like the Galaxy Watch4, were accurate in continuously measuring oxygen levels in trial patients, enabling researchers to screen for obstructive sleep apnea by analysing data collected by the wearable.

Galaxy Watch4 comes with a reflectance pulse oximeter module — located on the underside of the wearable and directly touching the skin — to measure oxygen saturation levels in peripheral blood (SpO2).

In this study, the team evaluated the estimated SpO2 obtained from a commercially available watch-type wearable device. Previous studies have shown that reflectance pulse oximetry can relatively accurately detect desaturation, except when measurements are performed at high altitudes

However, wrist-worn reflectance pulse oximetry has more limitations than transmittance pulse oximetry.

Because they are susceptible to motion and noise artefacts, commercially available wearable smartwatches have their own algorithms to enhance PPG measurements.

In India, the new Bluetooth-only model of Galaxy Watch4 was launched at Rs 23,999 for the 40mm dial size and Rs 26,999 for the 44mm model.

Along with health features such as a heart rate monitor, one of the interesting USPs of the device is that it allows users to monitor their stress levels.

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