An Apple Watch alerted 52-year-old Kevin Pearson that his heart was not beating properly. He was sitting quietly and reading a book when his smartwatch indicated his heart was beating at 161 bpm. This is as fast as an athlete in the middle of an intense workout.
“I wasn’t feeling any symptoms, such as sweating or anything like that,” Pearson told The Independent. He went on to monitor his heart rate which was rapidly changing, going as high as 135 bpm and dropping as low as 79 bpm.
By pure coincidence, Pearson was at a hospital for his father’s appointment at the time of this incident. He asked a nurse to help understand what his Apple Watch was trying to say.
“I said, ‘it’s possibly just my watch that’s wrong but can you have a look?‘”
Doctors told him that something did appear out of the ordinary despite him feeling just fine.
It was atrial fibrillation, a medical condition where the heart beats fast and irregular and it requires medical attention.
His heart was monitored and he was referred to a larger local hospital. There the doctors carried out blood tests and took readings to conclude that Pearson was in the middle of what the doctors call an “event”.
It is a function of the watch to take regular heart rate readings and send it to the phone. This allows it to monitor the progress of heart and always be on the lookout for erratic behavior.
Without the watch, Pearson would have been oblivious to the problems going on with his heart. “The heart rate wasn’t really of any particular value, and I didn’t even know it could alert you if it was too high,” he said.
This event inspired Pearson to write a note of thanks to Tim Cook. The watch has now been set to alert the doctor if his heart rate goes above 120 bpm.