Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke and Vascular Neurology Program, has joined the executive committee for a nationwide clinical trial called the Heartline Study. Conducted by Johnson & Johnson, in collaboration with Apple, the study will look at whether heart monitoring features on the Apple Watch, used in combination with an iPhone app, can reduce the risk of stroke.

“The best way to treat an acute stroke is to keep it from happening,” Saver said.

Saver, a senior associate vice chair for clinical research in neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has served as a principal investigator on dozens of clinical trials. His pioneering work on the use of clot-retrieval devices, combined with timely medical interventions, have helped dramatically reduce mortality and disability from stroke.

Saver’s work with advanced clot-removal devices has shown the importance of probing the intersection of medical practice and emerging technology. He is currently investigating the use of wearable sensors to detect conditions that can cause clots to form and treatment to prevent strokes from occurring.

Stroke can be prevented by early detection and the treatment of a stroke risk factor called atrial fibrillation, a condition that can lead to an increase in blood clots. Patients with atrial fibrillation are five times more likely to have a stroke, but it often goes undetected. Doctors can prescribe blood thinners to prevent clots, but atrial fibrillation can be hard to detect if it happens only occasionally. Since the Apple Watch can continuously monitor heart rhythm, it can detect atrial fibrillation whenever it occurs.

All study participants enroll through one national portal, so UCLA isn’t enrolling patients directly. “We are making our patients aware of the study and the opportunity to enroll,” Saver said. The trial is open to people age 65 and older who live in the United States, have Medicare coverage and have an iPhone 6s or later.

To learn more about enrolling, visit heartlinestudy.com.