Unusual reading on the Apple Watch saves a man's life

Unusual reading on the Apple Watch saves a man's life
The heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch has already saved a few lives. Typically the watch owner receives a warning that his or her heart rate is too high prompting a visit to the ER. There, the doctors usually are able to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. But the latest story, published in The Telegraph (via 9to5Mac), reveals how a heart rate that is too low can also be life-threatening.

This is what happened to 48-year-old Paul Hutton, who is a technology writer (uh oh) in England. While the normal range for a resting heart rate is between 60 beats per minute (bpm) and 100bpm, his Apple Watch was setting off alerts to tell him that his heart rate was dropping to 40bpm at rest. Two years ago, Apple added to its smartwatch the ability to scan for low heart rates and this feature turned out to be a lifesaver for the scribe.


At first, doctors removed caffeine from his diet. Since caffeine is a stimulant, that would seem to be a strange thing to do to someone with a low heart rate. But as it turns out, there is sometimes a snapback effect from a caffeine jolt that causes the heart to beat too slowly. When the removal of caffeine from his diet didn't stop the low heart rate alerts from going off on his Apple Watch, Hutton was referred to a specialist who diagnosed him with ventricular bigeminy. This is an irregular heartbeat that comes after a regular heartbeat and prevents blood from being pumped out effectively.

The ECG feature is being adopted by more smartwatch manufacturers


Surgeons performed a cardiac ablation, a procedure that burns small areas of the heart in order to destroy the tissue in the muscular organ that is causing the problem. Hutton has since recovered from the surgery, for which he was sedated but fully awake. His heart was able to handle the excitement of watching the World Cup Cricket finals. He says, "I keep checking my pulse on my Apple Watch and it all seems good."


Besides the heart rate monitor, the Apple Watch Series 4 also includes an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that checks for abnormal heart rhythms like Atrial fibrillation (AFib). This can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure and other issues. Other companies, like Samsung, are adding this feature to their smartwatches. For example, the upcoming Galaxy Watch Active 2 will reportedly feature an ECG monitor. However, it can't be enabled until the FDA gives its approval and a fresh report says that the ECG monitor won't be available to Galaxy Watch Active 2 users until the middle of 2020. This is an important point as other watchmakers start to include this feature. For example, last month we told you about Huami's Amazfit Verge2. The latter has a heart rate monitor and an ECG sensor. But since Huami is located in China, it can offer the feature without FDA approval. And that means that we really don't know how accurate it is.

As the Apple Watch has proven time and again, wearing a smartwatch on your wrist can be the difference between life and death. The top-selling wearable is at the vanguard of the company's continued push into health care.

FEATURED VIDEO

19 Comments

1. lyndon420

Posts: 6713; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

I've had my ears operated on three times...when I was younger. The last time when I was coming out of anesthesia I decided to play a joke on the nurse beside me. I lowered my heart rate enough to trigger an alarm...the look on her face was priceless!! She was so cute...I apologized for alarming her...

2. lyndon420

Posts: 6713; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Yay apple watch!!!

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4081; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Wheres the article on the Galaxy s8 saving 20 people's lives last week? Oh ya nevermind.... what was I thinking...

4. lyndon420

Posts: 6713; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Omg!! Seriously... what???

5. Tipus

Posts: 846; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

On PA, only Apple products saves lives :)

10. apple-rulz

Posts: 2002; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Start your own site and post the news you want. Until then stop being such a whiny baby.

12. lyndon420

Posts: 6713; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Where is the wireless charger with the apple logo on it?? We're all waiting for it.....it simply has to be amazing...after everyone else has done it of course s/

13. apple-rulz

Posts: 2002; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Loser420 post a link to a charging pad that can charge a phone and smart watch and buds regardless of where on the pad they are placed.

15. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Where’s the 2 day old Galaxy Fail? I heard its amazing.

19. whatev

Posts: 2193; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Maybe it is with Bixby Home and the Galaxy Fail, I mean Fold

20. Vancetastic

Posts: 1078; Member since: May 17, 2017

“Boo hoo hoo! Please don’t comment on articles using the comment section for comments about the articles unless you agree with the articles! Don’t criticize the authors on Apple articles!!! Wahhhh!” That’s what I get from your comments.

6. Whitedot

Posts: 761; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Alan, how many apples did you eat before writing this article?

7. Charlie2k

Posts: 120; Member since: Jan 11, 2016

If Apples would be removed from Alan's diet there would be nothing else left to write about.

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 2002; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

As usual there is not enough butthurt cream being manufactured to soothe the usual idiots that whine on every Apple Watch article. Too bad. LMAO

9. Tipus

Posts: 846; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Why are you whining on every Apple Watch article? :)

14. obedchuni

Posts: 332; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

A nifty features added two years ago...ambo

16. midan

Posts: 2681; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Amazing device in so many ways.

17. YeahYeah

Posts: 250; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

When are you gonna report on this..https://www.sammobile.com/news/galaxy-s8-help-save-lives-20-people-philippines/ oh I forgot, only Apple products save lifes... you know about this but you'd never write about it..

18. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1365; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

iPhones have been responsible for more deaths than Android phones so they need the good publicity, maybe we should just let them have this one.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.