Apple Watch owner alerted of irregular heart rhythms in her sleep

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Apple Watch alerts user of irregular heart rhythms in sleep
Apple Watch is proving to be a wonder of modern health care.
Photo: Apple

A Kentucky woman says her Apple Watch detected atrial fibrillation, aka irregular heart rhythms, while she slept.

Rosemary Stiles told local newscaster WHAS11 that she had been feeling unusually tired and rundown. But she had no idea that this could potentially be a sign of something more serious.

“I felt tired, I was rundown [and] had no energy,” said Stiles. “I would get up in the mornings and I could do a little bit of stuff around the house but then after a few minutes, I would have to go sit down in a chair, and it wouldn’t be long before I would fall asleep.”

On one such occasion, Stiles woke up to find a notification on her Apple Watch alerting her to possible AFib. This prompted her to seek medical advice at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. A nurse at the hospital said Stiles was among the first patients to be advised to come in by their Apple Watch.

“I feel like I was blessed,” said Stiles. “I think someone upstairs was trying to keep my alive a little while longer. I’ve got more of a purpose here of something later on down the road.”

It’s worth noting, of course, that right now battery life means most Apple Watch users take off their devices for sleep. Stiles was lucky because she fell asleep during the day. Hopefully, this kind of 24/7 tracking will be made more possible as batteries improve.

Apple Watch detects strange heart rhythms during sleep

Every week or so, we hear some new story about how Apple Watch helped a person discover an irregular heart rhythm. Diagnosing AFib isn’t necessarily a lifesaver, any more than being alerted of high blood pressure would be. But it can lead to patients seeking out treatment.

A study published last year in The New England Journal of Medicine confirmed the likely accuracy of Apple Watch’s assessments.

It’s no wonder CEO Tim Cook has talked about Apple’s contribution to health care being its potential lasting legacy as a company.

Source: WHAS11