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An Apple Watch saved the life of a 46-year-old man from Richmond, Virginia after the device alerted him that his heart was beating irregularly.
Ed Dentel was home Thursday night completing a software update when he decided to try the ECG app on his Apple Watch and simply “play around with it.” To Dentel’s surprise, the app’s results were not quite what he was expecting.
“The application on the launch sounded off right away with atrial fibrillation – not something I’ve ever heard of, but since I’m in pretty decent health and never had a problem before, I didn’t give it much thought. I figured something was glitchy, so I set everything down [and] turned in for the night,” Dentel told ABC News.
The following morning Dentel put his Apple Watch back on, and the response from the device was the same. Multiple attempts to restart the device yielded similar results. Feeling alarmed, Dentel drove down to the nearest urgent care facility where doctors confirmed the app’s diagnosis.
“I was dealing with a case of atrial fibrillation that I never knew I had and probably wouldn’t have known anytime soon,” Dentel said.
Fortunately for Dentel, the ECG app caught something an earlier electrocardiogram had not.
Several months prior, he was diagnosed with heartburn after ECG results revealed nothing out of the ordinary. The Apple Watch and the ECG app were able to prevent a future heart attack caused by clots in the bloodstream formed because of AFib, which according to the American Heart Association affects at least 2.7 million Americans.
The ECG app can record your heartbeat and rhythm using the electrical heart sensor on Apple Watch Series 4, then check the recordings for atrial fibrillation (AFib), a form of irregular heartbeat.
While the device cannot tell the user if they are having a heart attack, the app can be a helpful tool to catch many early signs that may lead to heart disease.