Apple must unlock pulse oximeter in every Apple Watch for Covid19 Hypoxia detection.

Apple must unlock pulse oximeter in every Apple Watch for Covid19 Hypoxia detection.

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Chris Banks started this petition to Apple and

Every Apple Watch since 2015, as discovered by Ifixit.com, includes a plethysmograph sensor for measuring Blood Pressure.  However, it can also be used as a Pulse Oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels, SP02.  Pulse Oximeters are one factor used to determine care for Covid19 patients.  Apple has not activated this functionality to date.

Athletes use these to determine how effective their lungs are for delivering oxygen to muscles and organs during intense exercise.  Medical Professionals use Pulse Oximeters to monitor for Hypoxemia (below normal oxygen levels) and Hypoxia (a prolonged state of oxygen depravation that can lead to organ failure and death).  Covid19 is a respiratory illness that among other things reduces lung effectiveness and in some cases does so without the tell-tale cough.  A study of patients in China by Xie et al and published in Springer calls this Silent Hypoxemia, and it is most prevalent in seniors.  Pulse Oximeters help by determining which patients need respiratory support.  If you are self quarantined with mild outward symptoms, it is still possible your blood oxygen level has dropped to a level that will cause irreversible organ and brain damage.  Everyone who suspects an infection and has a fever and perhaps other symptoms, can self monitor for signs of Hypoxemia.  However, knowing when you are sick but should stay home vs dangerously low blood oxygen level is something only advanced training, methods and sensors can provide.

While Pulse Oximeters are available over the counter, where supplies still exist, many people already have these on their wrists and don't know it.  Both Fitbit and Garmin are including it in some new devices, and there is talk that Apple will release the feature in IOS 14, but only for new watches.  This Petition asks that Apple and the FDA work together to determine if the existing sensor can be used today, for Covid19.  If not, clearly publish why the approximately 33 million apple watches with Pulse Oximeter Sensors are not effective or who is preventing their functionality from being turned on.  News outlets, industry blogs, and fan sites from Business Insider to CultofMac have reported on Pulse Oximeters and Apple's future plans, but with the current Coronavirus outbreak, there is no quicker way Apple and the FDA can collaborate on a useful tool that will save lives.  We need to leverage every resource we have and worry about profit later.

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