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The tiny device that revolutionised smart wearables – the apple watch – has saved one more life. 36-year-old author Adam Croft who hails from Flitwick in Bedfordshire, UK, woke up to several alerts on his apple watch – which he wears to sleep. The watch alerted him that his heartbeat was not regular throughout the night – and this is a feature regularly undermined by the larger audience. Croft himself admitted that he had never expected to use this feature, and also mentioned that he will not be taking the watch off anymore.
The evening before this incident, Mr. Croft, on getting up from his sofa, felt a sensation of dizziness – which led him to get a glass of water from the kitchen. On the way there, he experienced a feeling of “the world closing in” on him, and ended up on the floor, soaked in his own sweat.
Ideally, he should have immediately gotten a check-up, but he decided to ignore these and went to bed. In the middle of the night, he woke up to several alerts on his watch telling him that his heart was in Atrial Fibrillation – or AFib – a condition where one’s heartbeats are very irregular and arrhythmic and can quickly lead to blood clots in the heart – which can be fatal if left untreated, causing chest pain, breathlessness, and an increased risk of heart stroke.
Diagnosis and Treatment
This prompted him to dial the UK medical helpline, 111, who told him to get to the nearest hospital within an hour. He rushed to Bedford hospital and underwent some tests, results of which confirmed that he was in a state of AFib. He was immediately put on blood thinners by medical professionals, which helps reduce the risk of blood clots, and has been scheduled to undergo a procedure called “cardioversion procedure,” where one’s heart rhythm is restored by subjecting it to quick, low-energy shocks.
Technology – A boon to mankind, but also a cause for concern?
Apple has been trying to improve the health features of the gadgets they make, led primarily by the Apple Watch. They had received FDA clearance for its ECG App in 2018, which allowed the watch to detect the AFib. ECG (or EKG) is an electrocardiogram, which records the electrical signals sent by the heart, and can detect abnormalities and different heart conditions. This incident sheds light on the potential smart wearables have to detect health issues early on.
It showcases its ability to become a very useful tool for both medical professionals and day-to-day users. However, this also sheds a reason of concern on the overdependence of people on technology. Mr. Croft himself said that he might have not visited the hospital if the watch had not alerted him to such a risk – which could have possibly been extremely fatal, especially because he has not visited the hospital before when he experienced similar symptoms – like fluttering of the heart, frantic sweats, intense discomfort.
Not the first time Apple Watch has saved lives.
Back in July 2022, a NEET student – Smit Mehta – hailing from Pune, Maharashtra was on a trek with his friends. The 17 year-old tripped and fell on a tree, getting rooted to a stone and barely avoided falling off the side of a valley. He did not have his phone, and had no way of communication – but was able to call his family from his apple watch – and was promptly rescued.