Apple Watch saves woman after 'widow maker' heart attack

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited July 5
A Michigan woman credits the Apple Watch for saving her life by detecting she had a high heart rate -- that was caused by a heart attack.

The Apple Watch Series 4 introduced a built-in ECG.
The Apple Watch Series 4 introduced a built-in ECG.


On April 22, Diane Feenstra of Norton Shores saw that she had a high heart rate on her Apple Watch. She had a heart rate of 169 beats per minute, despite the most vigorous exercise she did that day was walking up 12 steps.

Concerned, she called her husband, who referred her to her doctor. A visit to urgent care confirmed that she had a recent heart attack -- but other than the Apple Watch's heart rate warning, Feenstra wasn't aware that it had taken place.






The symptoms of the heart attack are different for a woman, she explained to ABC13. "I had pain going down my left hand, I had a little swelling in my left foot, I had indigestion that I just explained away as acid reflux that I was experiencing as I got older."

The emergency room gave her aspirin and sent her to Meijer Heart for further examination. Days later, it was determined that she had a blockage in the "Widow maker artery," which was repaired with a stent procedure.

The Apple Watch was credited as being the main reason for Feenstra to ask for assistance. "It's such an easy thing to see what your heart rate is," she said. "Had I not done that that morning, who knows, but I may have had another heart attack that would have been fatal."

Apple's wearable device has been proclaimed as a life-saver on many occasions, and in various ways. In February, a report claimed it had saved a man who regularly ran after detecting arrhythmia, while in June, its fall detection feature assisted a 78-year-old man who had broken his nose and passed out after a fall.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,586member
    Glad to hear it.  A close family member head several WMs and didn’t know it until he had a massive heart attack on the way to another, unrelated procedure.  100% block in three arteries, put stents in the fourth. He miraculously survived after being shocked over a dozen times.  They say that months prior he had widow maker heart attacks and didn’t even know it.  
    gregoriusmronndewmetwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 838member
    Glad she survived but all the watch did was show a rapid heart rate.

    The Apple Watch gives you a single trace EKG and cannot show that specific information. 
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,191administrator
    davgreg said:
    Glad she survived but all the watch did was show a rapid heart rate.

    The Apple Watch gives you a single trace EKG and cannot show that specific information. 
    Right, which is what the story says. And, what the lead image in the story practically demonstrates.

    The elevated heart rate on her Apple Watch is what clued the woman in to the heart attack, leading her to get medical attention.
    edited July 5 pulseimagesronnsdw2001GeorgeBMactwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 790member
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    Right, which is what the story says. And, what the lead image in the story practically demonstrates.

    The elevated heart rate on her Apple Watch is what clued the woman in to the heart attack, leading her to get medical attention.
    Do you know if the watch put up a "hey, this seems like a problem" alert as we've seen in some other cases "heart rate warning", or if she just noticed the high heart rate on her own?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    cjlaczcjlacz Posts: 39member
    mknelson said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    Right, which is what the story says. And, what the lead image in the story practically demonstrates.

    The elevated heart rate on her Apple Watch is what clued the woman in to the heart attack, leading her to get medical attention.
    Do you know if the watch put up a "hey, this seems like a problem" alert as we've seen in some other cases "heart rate warning", or if she just noticed the high heart rate on her own?
    The article doesn’t say, but the watch certainly has a setting to do that. I imagine she probably got a high heart rating warning, I’m not sure if the watch counts it as a warning. It’s been a while since I had one from setting it abnormally low. Either way, Apple has been promoting always on health devices and this does show the value of that. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,191administrator
    mknelson said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    Right, which is what the story says. And, what the lead image in the story practically demonstrates.

    The elevated heart rate on her Apple Watch is what clued the woman in to the heart attack, leading her to get medical attention.
    Do you know if the watch put up a "hey, this seems like a problem" alert as we've seen in some other cases "heart rate warning", or if she just noticed the high heart rate on her own?
    Unclear, but like Cklacz said, the Apple Watch can absolutely do that.

    More data is better.
    pulseimagesronndewmeGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,626member
    mknelson said:
    Mike Wuerthele said:

    Right, which is what the story says. And, what the lead image in the story practically demonstrates.

    The elevated heart rate on her Apple Watch is what clued the woman in to the heart attack, leading her to get medical attention.
    Do you know if the watch put up a "hey, this seems like a problem" alert as we've seen in some other cases "heart rate warning", or if she just noticed the high heart rate on her own?
    Don’t know in this case but that is something the AW does. In Settings>Heart> there is a place not only for high and low heart rate warnings, but you can change how fast or slow will trigger the warning. I don’t re3member having to turn this on so I believe it’s on by default. 
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 608member
    By default, the Apple Watch pops up a warning on the watch & iPhone that states your heart rate is above 120, if idle for > 5 or 10 minutes (don't remember which).  I sometimes get the warning when sitting idle & aggravated by something for a bit...  My heart rate is only in the 120's, but it still notifies me.
    edited July 5 GeorgeBMactwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,025member
    Rapid heart rate is ALWAYS a symptom of an underlying disease or disorder.  
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    jaspergjasperg Posts: 1member
    My Apple Watch saved me back in May in my opinion. I was in Orlando on Vacation with my Family. We were at dinner one night and all of a sudden it was Like I could catch my breath without feeling like I had just swollen a butterfly and my heart was pounding like crazy. I tried to run an ekg with my watch and it kept say inconclusive because my heart rate was to high. It kept bouncing all over the place from as high as 208 to as low as 60 in a matter of seconds and finally it told me I was in A fib after i was able to take some when my heart rate was under 140 long enough. Now Iv never had any heart issues to my knowledge b4 this. After this has gone on for several minutes I finally gave in and had my wife call emergency services once they came and pick me up they checked my blood pressure my EKG and my blood sugar it came back that I was in a fib and at the moment my heart rate was like 215 and that my blood pressure was slightly elevated and my blood sugar was up. They wind up rushing me to the hospital and I was in a fib from about 11 o’clock that night to about 1 o’clock the next day before they finally got me to convert back to normal sinus rhythm. At the end of the day once all was said and done I went from being completely free of any kind of health issues to my knowledge to finding out that I was suffering from a fib and that I am a diabetic type two.
    GeorgeBMactwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    davgreg said:
    Glad she survived but all the watch did was show a rapid heart rate.

    The Apple Watch gives you a single trace EKG and cannot show that specific information. 
    Sometimes, that is all one needs to check ones health.
    edited July 6 twokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    netrox said:
    Rapid heart rate is ALWAYS a symptom of an underlying disease or disorder.  

    Yeh - IF it isn't triggered by something:   I just got a high heart rate warning (twice) while receiving electro-stimulation on my shoulder from a Physical Therapist.

    Other than that, I've gotten a few Low Heart Rate warnings -- but those were from being in good physical fitness.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    jasperg said:
    My Apple Watch saved me back in May in my opinion. I was in Orlando on Vacation with my Family. We were at dinner one night and all of a sudden it was Like I could catch my breath without feeling like I had just swollen a butterfly and my heart was pounding like crazy. I tried to run an ekg with my watch and it kept say inconclusive because my heart rate was to high. It kept bouncing all over the place from as high as 208 to as low as 60 in a matter of seconds and finally it told me I was in A fib after i was able to take some when my heart rate was under 140 long enough. Now Iv never had any heart issues to my knowledge b4 this. After this has gone on for several minutes I finally gave in and had my wife call emergency services once they came and pick me up they checked my blood pressure my EKG and my blood sugar it came back that I was in a fib and at the moment my heart rate was like 215 and that my blood pressure was slightly elevated and my blood sugar was up. They wind up rushing me to the hospital and I was in a fib from about 11 o’clock that night to about 1 o’clock the next day before they finally got me to convert back to normal sinus rhythm. At the end of the day once all was said and done I went from being completely free of any kind of health issues to my knowledge to finding out that I was suffering from a fib and that I am a diabetic type two.
    Congratulations!
    Both conditions can trigger devastating, very nasty side effects if not treated.   Now that you know you have them you and your support team can manage them and keep you as safe and healthy as possible.

    In my early days as a student nurse I was shocked when I realized that almost everyone of my patients was in that hospital as a result of some ramification of diabetes.   Likewise, my own mom had a stroke (a common ramification of A-Fib) and spent the last 8 years of her life in a wheel chair.

    Don't mess with these things.

    At the same time, the Apple Watch encourages the physical activity that can help control and manage both conditions!  So, not only can it give you by warning that something's amiss, it can help you prevent and/or treat those conditions!

    Such a marvelous device!

    watto_cobra
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