Apple Watch credited with saving life days after ECG feature launched in Europe

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 2
Less than a week after Apple expanded availability of the Apple Watch Series 4 ECG feature to Hong Kong and parts of Europe, the wearable has been credited with detecting signs of atrial fibrillation in a European man, potentially saving his life.

Apple Watch Series 4 Nike


According to a customer testimonial sent via Twitter to Dr. Michael Spehr of Germany's FAZ newspaper, Apple Watch and Apple's ECG app detected a previously undiagnosed heart condition, reports The Sun.

In their note to Spehr, the unnamed user said they viewed the ECG function as reserved for hypochondriacs, but decided to try the feature when Apple released watchOS 5.2 last week. The latest Apple Watch update activates ECG hardware on Series 4 units for users in Hong Kong and select European countries.

The customer noted multiple Apple Watch readings displayed signs of atrial fibrillation, a condition that had heretofore gone undetected by their regular physicians. Skeptical that the device was providing accurate information, the user asked the recommendation of a doctor friend, who chalked up the readings to a measurement error.

"But nevertheless I visited my physician, a 12-channel ECG was taken, the physician weighed his head deliberately and said: 'The watch is right,'" the person wrote. Beta blockers were prescribed to treat the AFib diagnosis.

"It's true, the Watch contributed to prolonging my life," the customer said.

Today's report is the latest in a long-running series of testimonials from Apple Watch customers who have been alerted to AFib readings as a result of the ECG app. Most recently, the device was credited with saving the life of a Seattle man who, like the user profiled today, was unaware that he was living with the heart condition.

Apple Watch Series 4 launched in September, with the ECG activated for U.S. buyers in December. With last week's update, the feature was extended to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    What?! But it's just a gimmick that couldn't possibly help save a life. /s
    Anilu_777pbruttojbdragonleavingthebiggchiaStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 868member
    Love my series 4. Just wish the LTE could be paired with a prepaid account. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 974member
    What life was 'saved'? Atrial fibrillation by itself is not life-threatening and would probably have been picked up at the guy's next medical anyway.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 947member
    hentaiboy said:
    What life was 'saved'? Atrial fibrillation by itself is not life-threatening and would probably have been picked up at the guy's next medical anyway.
    People in Europe don't have routine general "medicals." I can't remember the last time I went to a doctor, and whenever it was, I wasn't given a once-over just for the sake of it.
    jfanningEric_WVGGpbruttojbdragonchiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 18
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    I'm late to the game, but I just bought a series 3 the other day, my first Apple Watch. I hadn't thought of getting one just yet, but the price was really good, so I said F it, and I decided to jump on the deal.

    Apple Watch is indeed great. I can see why they're so dominant now. It's only going to continue to grow and become a very successful category for Apple.
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    elijahg said:
    hentaiboy said:
    What life was 'saved'? Atrial fibrillation by itself is not life-threatening and would probably have been picked up at the guy's next medical anyway.
    People in Europe don't have routine general "medicals." I can't remember the last time I went to a doctor, and whenever it was, I wasn't given a once-over just for the sake of it.
    I’m in Canada and we have annual physicals. Never has a Cardiogram or other heart test been suggested. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    And where is the ECG for Canada?! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 719member
    If it can be fixed by medicine I would love for early detection too. Hopefully Apple can release it in more countries very quickly. 
    edited April 3 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 18
    FranculesFrancules Posts: 110member
    Apple Watch Rocks. ;)
    jbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 18
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 719member
    apple ][ said:
    I'm late to the game, but I just bought a series 3 the other day, my first Apple Watch. I hadn't thought of getting one just yet, but the price was really good, so I said F it, and I decided to jump on the deal.

    Apple Watch is indeed great. I can see why they're so dominant now. It's only going to continue to grow and become a very successful category for Apple.
    ..especially for a person who wants to improve their health & be more healthy Apple Watch is indispensable.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Has Apple Canada even bothered to apply for certification/whatever with the Canadian gov't yet? Likely, nobody at Apple Canada even knows they have to.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    cjlaczcjlacz Posts: 33member
    I wish they'd stop saying this 'saved a life'. 'potentially saved a life' or 'found undiagnosed Afib'. It is important for it to be found, figure out how much of a risk the person is at, and what they need to do. Afib doesn't mean you were about ready to die though. 

    Regardless of the nitpicking, I'm glad to see that the new features in the Apple Watch are finding new cases and it seems not doing it with too many false positives. I'm curious how many cases it's still missing, but that's not a criticism. This technology is definitely helping people and it's moving in the right direction. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    tobiantobian Posts: 21member
    It will turn out that every other one experience an atrial fibrillation from time to time, and it's not always life threatening. However, doctors need to make sure it won't happen again so the drugs will be prescribed, which will shorten and fuck up the rest of your life.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,699member
    hentaiboy said:
    What life was 'saved'? Atrial fibrillation by itself is not life-threatening and would probably have been picked up at the guy's next medical anyway.
    "Picked up at his next medical"?   The only way to detect A-Fib is with an EKG.  When was the last time your PCP gave you an EKG just for the hell of it?   Those are specialty procedures triggered by some kind of event such as chest pain, fainting or dyspnea on exertion, etc...   Since an EKG is safe, easy and cheap the threshold for getting one is low -- but there is a threshold -- meaning there needs to be a reason for doing it.

    As for being "life-threatening" -- I think they would be better off saying that they possibly prevented a stroke.  A-Fib doesn't always produce a stroke, but frequently enough to warrant medical treatment to prevent it.  But too, stroke is not always fatal.   It usually results in losing control over some body function(s) and leaves the victim (to my way of thinking) worse than dead.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    wandersowanderso Posts: 104member
    In the US, with the co-insurance that one has to pay on most plans for such things as these tests, the price for an Apple Watch 4 could be considered basically “Free” in a sense as it may reduce one extra test that you might have requested. There are many other health benefits that come along with the watch if you use them. Some health insurance plans are experimenting with giving the the watches for Free as the health benefits of using them can greatly reduce costs in the future in the form of illnesses stemming from a sedentary life.  I agree from above that physicians will not normally order such a test without evidence of needing to do so. 

    I know a person who justifies his purchase of tools (if a rental is not available) to perform repairs as “Free” because they would be paying many times more for the cost to hire someone to do the work.  


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    As I sent to Apple already (but haven’t seen reported), I’m currently on chemo for sarcoma cancer that jumped from my large leg tumor (since surgically removed - the entire leg including tumor) into my lungs.  My first exposure to one of the chemo drugs (Gemcitabine) caused a severe body-wide rash.  I remember waking up early in the morning with the feeling that my heart was beating funny, so I strapped on my Series 4 watch and ran the ECG test, and it came back saying that my heart rate was abnormally high.  I ran it again and it told me I was in A-Fib.  We immediately phoned our on-call nurse, and they said to get down to the ER, which we did.  They confirmed that I was in A-Fib with a high (upper-100) resting heart rate, and gave me drugs through my PowerPort (an implant most chemo patients have to get blood and other chemicals in and out without having to get an IV line each time) to get it under control.  Knowing me, had the watch not warned me, I might not have gone to the ER until symptoms had gotten worse, and it’s speculative to know where that might have led.  It’s funny, because the feature we had bought the Series 4 watches for was “fall detection,” as with an amputated leg, I had already fallen twice, the second time being very lucky that my wife was outside where she could hear me slamming my hand against the window as I lay all tangled up on the floor in my walker with my iPhone on my desk just out of reach.  Instead, it was the ECG feature that saved my bacon!
    SoliGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,979member
    hentaiboy said:
    What life was 'saved'? Atrial fibrillation by itself is not life-threatening and would probably have been picked up at the guy's next medical anyway.
    What is ‘medicine’? How does it work? Bah, it’s all a scam!  :D
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 18
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 947member
    As I sent to Apple already (but haven’t seen reported), I’m currently on chemo for sarcoma cancer that jumped from my large leg tumor (since surgically removed - the entire leg including tumor) into my lungs.  My first exposure to one of the chemo drugs (Gemcitabine) caused a severe body-wide rash.  I remember waking up early in the morning with the feeling that my heart was beating funny, so I strapped on my Series 4 watch and ran the ECG test, and it came back saying that my heart rate was abnormally high.  I ran it again and it told me I was in A-Fib.  We immediately phoned our on-call nurse, and they said to get down to the ER, which we did.  They confirmed that I was in A-Fib with a high (upper-100) resting heart rate, and gave me drugs through my PowerPort (an implant most chemo patients have to get blood and other chemicals in and out without having to get an IV line each time) to get it under control.  Knowing me, had the watch not warned me, I might not have gone to the ER until symptoms had gotten worse, and it’s speculative to know where that might have led.  It’s funny, because the feature we had bought the Series 4 watches for was “fall detection,” as with an amputated leg, I had already fallen twice, the second time being very lucky that my wife was outside where she could hear me slamming my hand against the window as I lay all tangled up on the floor in my walker with my iPhone on my desk just out of reach.  Instead, it was the ECG feature that saved my bacon!
    Sorry to hear you're having such a rough time, I hope things look up for you soon man!
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
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