Canadian Firefighter Says Apple Watch Saved Him When He Suffered a Heart Attack

Apple Watch Series 7 ECG and Heart Monitor Credit: Apple
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A fit and active Canadian firefighter credits his Apple Watch with saving his life after he suffered a heart attack, according to a report from Global News. The 44-year-old man says the wearable likely saved his life and he’ll never go another day without wearing it.

Nova Scotia resident Travis Chalmers said he felt a warm sensation in his chest following a rousing game of street hockey with his son.

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“I just thought it was a flu or cold coming on and my seasonal allergies had been kicking in,” said Chalmers. “I thought it was flu-like symptoms and shrugged it off.”

But then his Apple began repeatedly displaying an atrial fibrillation warning, which signifies an irregular or rapid heartbeat that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

“About a half hour later, I’m laying down with my daughter and my heart rate is still beating out of my chest,” he said.

Chalmers decided to play it safe and go to the hospital.

“When I said atrial fibrillation and gave them the symptoms, I was rushed right in,” he said. “That’s when they told me I’m probably having a heart attack.”

Doctors ran tests and found high troponin levels in his blood, indicating heart damage from a heart attack.

“I stayed in the hospital for a week and got more tests done to confirm and one of my arteries is 100 percent blocked,” Chalmers said. He said doctors believe the artery became completely blocked off during the street hockey game, which led to the cardiac event.

Chalmers had worn the Apple Watch for quite a while, so the device was able to detect the irregularities when it compared the reading to his average heart rate.

“Basically, it tells you something is different from what it’s been monitoring before, and if this is out of character for you, see a medical practitioner immediately,” he said.

It’s one of those things, you just don’t know what’s going on inside. It can hit anyone at any time. I’m very fortunate the watch gave me a second set of eyes.Travis Chalmers

Ciorsti MacIntyre, a cardiologist at Halifax’s QEII infirmary, told Global News that the Apple Watch is a valuable tool because it can warn wearers about abnormal heart rhythms, whether they are significantly dangerous or not.

“Patients are coming to us with information from their wearable devices that we now have to deal with,” she said. “It’s looking for irregularities in the heart rhythm and while atrial fibrillation can be a common cause of that irregularity, there are certainly other benign causes that could lead to it as well.”

The Apple Watch helps doctors “reconstruct what was going on to allow us to correlate their symptoms with what the heart rhythm might be doing at that particular time,” she said. “We can’t be with people 24/7, [but] the watch can be.”

Chalmers is appreciative of the possibly life-saving alerts from his Apple Watch. “This was a really bad situation,” Chalmers noted. “If I didn’t come in, there’s a chance I wouldn’t be here.”

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