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Couple credits Apple Watch with detecting silent heart disease requiring medical intervention

Apple Watch added atrial fibrillation detection several years ago, and customers have benefited from the feature ever since. The latest example of the Apple Watch making a difference comes from a couple in Summerville, South Carolina.

Post and courier tells the story of Jeff and Ellen Priest, who credit the Apple Watch with discovering his silent heart disease:

Jeff Priest was sitting on the couch when an alert popped up on his Apple Watch, informing him that he had a sudden heart condition called atrial fibrillation. For a man with no health problems and no family history, there can only be one conclusion:

“I thought there was something wrong with the watch,” said Priest, 65, a retired provost of the University of South Carolina Aiken. “I didn’t feel bad, I felt normal.”

But his wife, Ellen, took it more seriously.

Jeff’s experience is not unique. The Apple Watch has been repeatedly recognized as the first signal that something is wrong in atrial fibrillation patients who report feeling perfectly fine.

“Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a type of irregular heart rhythm in which the upper chambers of the heart beat out of sync with the lower chambers,” Apple explains in the Apple Watch documentation. “According to the CDC, approximately 2% of people under the age of 65 and 9% of people 65 and older have atrial fibrillation. Heartbeat irregularities become more common as people age. Some people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms.

Early detection of atrial fibrillation can make a world of difference for people with silent heart disease. Without the Apple Watch, the result could have been very different. When left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke or heart attack.

In Jeff’s case, he was able to see a doctor and receive appropriate treatment that made his heart condition manageable. He also had to monitor his heart condition from his watch without needing to stay at home or in the hospital for further evaluation.

“I had no symptoms,” he said. The staff kept asking, “Don’t your chest hurt?” ” No. “Don’t you feel your heart racing? ” No.” (…)

They let them go home a few hours later, after the medication had stabilized him. But when he saw Schneider two days later, he was still suffering from atrial fibrillation, although he still didn’t feel bad. She kept him on treatment but made an appointment for him to get his heart back to normal. He got permission to go to a golf tournament, and in the middle of it, he suddenly felt like things were getting back to normal.

“I checked my watch and I no longer had atrial fibrillation,” Jeff said. The shock has become useless.

Read the full story at Post and courier. To learn more about the impact of Apple Watch on health, check out our Apple Health guide.

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