The Apple Watch has many medical applications, and features like heart rate tracking features can be invaluable to people facing dangerous health conditions.
In the case of 25-year-old Zachary Zies, a recent graduate of Ohio State University and resident of Perrysburg, Ohio, his Apple Watch came in clutch when it detected an unusually high heart rate.
“The Apple Watch was pretty much telling me that something’s up and you need to go in and go get help and see what’s actually wrong,” Zachary told NBC24.
Zachary has battled a rare genetic disease known as “Friedreich’s ataxia” for most of his life. The condition negatively affects areas of the brain and spinal cord, and, in some cases, the heart.
What the Apple Watch detected was an atrial flutter. Zachary’s heart was beating at a much faster rate and, though he may not have noticed it, the Apple Watch caught on and alerted him of the need to seek medical attention.
After going in and having the necessary atrial ablation procedure to correct the atrial flutter, Zachary credited the Apple Watch with potentially saving his life.
On the Healthcare side of Apple’s site that deals with connecting healthcare providers with their patients, one of the main features of the Apple Watch highlighted are heart rate monitoring.
Having been a fundamental figure since the first-generation Apple Watches, the patient wearing the device receives a notification if their heart rate is above 120 beats per minute (BPM) or under 40 beats per minute (BPM) been inactive for 10 minutes.
These dimensions can be raised above 120 BPM or lowered below 40 BPM, and the notifications can be turned off altogether.
Apple also points out that irregular rhythm notifications could indicate atrial fibrillation, which is directly linked to Zachary Zies’ case.
The irregular rhythm notification occasionally checks for signs of irregular rhythms that may be suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib). This feature won’t detect all instances of AFib but may catch something that can provide your patients with an early indication that further evaluation may be warranted. Irregular rhythm notifications use the optical heart sensor to detect the pulse wave at the wrist and look for variability in beat‑to‑beat intervals when the user is at rest. If the algorithm repeatedly detects an irregular rhythm suggestive of AFib, your patient will receive a notification and the date, time and beat‑to‑beat heart rate will be recorded in the Health app.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the leading causes of stroke and hospitalization.
With yet another case of its being discovered by an Apple Watch, Apple’s smartwatch continues to prove itself as a solid last line of defense against heart-related health issues.
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