A Seattle, Washington man is crediting his Apple Watch Series 4 with alerting him of the return of his atrial fibrillation (A-fib) condition.
According to local news outlet KIRO 7, cardiologist Dr. Phil Massey of Pacific Medical Centers had a patient come into the hospital after his Apple Watch indicated he had an irregular heart rhythm.
The patient had been successfully treated for A-fib in the past, but the condition can return. Dr. Massey says the patient had been off of his blood thinner medication, and hadn’t been aware his A-fib condition had returned until his Apple Watch notified him.
“He had been off of blood thinner and he didn’t know it had come back,” Dr. Massey said. “And when you have AF it can be intermittent so he could come into the office and be in normal rhythm. But then he could show me the tracking on his watch and show me that it had come back. And then we got him on a blood thinner to prevent a stroke, so that is a big deal.”
Meanwhile, the Apple Watch has a new believer. A heart nurse at Pacific Medical Centers said that she was “really skeptical” that the Apple Watch ECG readings would ever be useful until she saw this case.
“I was really skeptical that this would provide a clear tracing for our patients, because I read EKG’s all day every day.” But she’s a believer now.
Dr. Massey says he’s excited about the development of tools like the Apple Watch to detect heart rhythm issues outside of the doctor’s office. “I am hopeful that other heart rhythm problems will be able to be detected in the future outside of the doctor’s office,” he said. “And that’s exciting.”
One in four deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.