The heart rate monitor on Apple Watch has already saved some lives. The viewer usually gets a warning that his or her heart rate is too high which gives a visit to the ER. There, doctors can usually come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. But the latest story, published in The Telegraph (via 9to5Mac), shows how a heart rate that is too low can also be life-threatening.
This happened to 48-year-old Paul Hutton, a technology writer (oh oh) in England. While the normal range for a dormant heart rate is between 60 beats per minute (bpm) and 100 bpm, his Apple Watch closed warnings to tell him that his heart rate dropped to 40bpm at rest. Two years ago, Apple added to its smartwatch the ability to search for low heart rates and this feature turned out to be a lifesaver for the writer.
Paul Hutton and Apple Watch who rescued their lives
In the beginning, the doctor took away caffeine from his diet. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it seems to be a strange thing to do for someone with a low heart rate. But as it turns out, it is sometimes a snapback effect from a caffeine frame that makes the heart beat too slowly. When the removal of caffeine from his diet did not cease low heart rate warnings from going out 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 normal heartbeat and prevents blood from pumping out effectively.
"As Paul's story shows, they offer great potential for detecting signs of an irregular heartbeat before a person has noticeable symptoms. More research is needed to determine how we can optimally use the data generated by these devices. portable devices can be invaluable tools for healthcare professionals in identifying risky patients. "- Ashleigh Li, Senior Heart Nurse, British Heart Foundation
ECG Function Adopted by More Smartwatch Manufacturers
Surgeons performed cardiac ablation, a process that burns small areas in the heart to destroy the tissue of the muscle organ causing the problem. Hutton has since recovered from the operation, for which he was sedated but completely awake. His heart was able to handle the excitement of watching the World Cup Cricket Final. He says, "I keep checking my pulse on my Apple Watch and everything seems fine."
The upcoming Samsung Galaxy Active Watch 2 is expected to include an electrocardiogram monitor
In addition to the heart rate monitor, Apple Watch Series 4 also includes an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that controls abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). This can lead to blood clots, strokes and heart failure and other problems. Other companies, such as Samsung, add this feature to their smartwatches. For example, the upcoming Galaxy Watch Active 2 will have an ECG monitor. However, it cannot be activated until the FDA gives its approval and a new report states that the ECG monitor will not be available to Galaxy Watch Active 2 users until mid-2020. This is an important point that other watchmakers are beginning to include this feature . For example, last month we told about Huam's Amazfit Verge2. The latter has a heart rate monitor and an ECG sensor. But since Huami is in China, it can offer the feature without FDA approval. And that means we really don't know how accurate it is.
As Apple Watch has proven time and again, you can have a difference between life and death when wearing a smartwatch on your wrist. The most sold portable is at the forefront of the company's continued driving force.