Undiagnosed heart blockage detected thanks to Apple Watch

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited January 16
A woman credits her Apple Watch with saving her life after the ECG app discovered an previously undiagnosed heart condition.

Apple Watch Series 4 and later have an ECG app
Apple Watch Series 4 and later have an ECG app


The Apple Watch Series 4 and later includes an app that can detect irregular heart rhythms, and it also works as a health and fitness monitor in general.

A woman named Elain Thompson suffered seizures in 2018. As part of her post-diagnosis treatment, her daughter recommended she wear an Apple Watch to monitor her health.

The Apple Watch recently detected something wrong with Thompson's heart rhythm, and alerted her to the issue. She then visited the cardiologist, and was fitted with a heart monitor for a week.

In one instance, the monitor sent an alert to the hospital after her heart stopped in her sleep for 19 seconds. Doctors diagnosed Thompson with a heart blockage and installed a pacemaker to help with her condition.

Thompson credits her Apple Watch with first discovering that something was wrong.

"It saved my life. If I hadn't had the alert I wouldn't have brought it up with the doctor. Now I wear the Apple Watch all the time," she told The Independent "It was so scary knowing I could have died. I flatlined for 19 seconds. I might not have woken up."

Apple's electrocardiogram (ECG) app was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018. The functionality is similar to a single-lead traditional electrocardiogram.

It can detect signs of atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart. Once the app runs, it will save the waveform, classification, and any other noted symptoms within the Health app on the user's iPhone so they can share it as a PDF with a doctor.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,139member
    The medically correct term here is Block not Blockage.

    To use the term Blockage is to imply a coronary artery blockage or myocardial infarction.  In layman’s terms, a heart attack which is something an Apple Watch cannot do.

    The correct term is rather Block as in sinoatrial block or atrioventricular block which is an electrical conduction issue.  In layman’s terms, a heart rhythm disturbance when the heart does not a generate an electrical signal for an extended period of time.
    zimmiefred1beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 2 of 6
    My story is similar. I was at the med center for a morning appointment. While waiting I checked my phone for messages and there was an alert from the Health app that my watch had recorded an irregular heartbeat episode while I was sleeping. I then checked the ECG app on the phone and it reported Atrial Fibrillation. 

    After my appointment I went over to the Internal Medicine department where they saw me a little later, took a full ECG and confirmed. Put me on an appropriate medication to protect me from effects of Afib.

    Happy to say that I have not had the irregular heartbeat notification. But I am now consistent about wearing my Apple Watch while I sleep and checking the watch ECG routinely. 


    fred1twokatmewgregoriusmApplejacs
  • Reply 3 of 6
    Don’t you need an echocardiogram to diagnose  a blockage? As opposed to an electrocardiogram.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,135member
     Doctors diagnosed Thompson with a heart blockage and installed a pacemaker to help with her condition.

    This doesn't make sense. You don't call an electrician to fix a plumbing problem.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 628member
    Don’t you need an echocardiogram to diagnose  a blockage? As opposed to an electrocardiogram.
    Nope. A 12-lead ECG is the primary diagnostic tool for infarction. A cardiac echo is sometimes used to confirm, but not often. Echos are more for detecting issues with blood flowing through the heart like valve prolapse, regurgitation, or outright holes in the septa (allowing blood to leak from one ventricle into the other, for example).
    mike1 said:
     Doctors diagnosed Thompson with a heart blockage and installed a pacemaker to help with her condition.

    This doesn't make sense. You don't call an electrician to fix a plumbing problem.
    Correct. As Badmonk noted above, somebody confused a "block" (a nerve issue) with a "blockage" (a blood supply issue). The medical terminology is precise, but it often leads to exactly this confusion when trying to explain an issue to someone without significant medical background.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Congratulations to Apple for giving us a wearable device that can prove its value by carrying out a possibly life saving action such as the one reported here. I refer to my series 7 45mm AW as being a “private gym instructor I wear on my wrist” - since starting to use AW to supplement my personal fitness regimen it has proved invaluable. It was fantastic to read about this AW user’s experience with its heart rate monitoring function (and to read that her daughter recommended she start wearing one after her previous heart problems). Some would describe the Apple Watch’s health monitoring functions as a gimmick but this story shoots that claim out of the air! I hope the person mentioned in this article continues to remain in good health.
    radarthekat
Sign In or Register to comment.