Apple watch detected A-fib

Discussion in 'Apple Watch Talk' started by Larry Cruzen, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Larry Cruzen

    Larry Cruzen New Member

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    A few days ago, my wife was not feeling well so she used the heart beat app on her watch to check her heart rate. It registered between 150 and 173 beats per minute. I took her blood pressure and it was normal. I couldn’t manually check her heart rate because her pulse was weak and erratic. The ECG app on her watch just said that her heart rate was over 120 beats per minute and kept re-starting the 30 second countdown.

    A quick call to the doctor resulted in an immediate visit to get a blood thinner.
    She has now been diagnosed with severe Atrial Fibrillation and is under the care of her cardiologist. Severe A-fib can lead to a stroke due to blood clot formation, so prompt detection and treatment is essential.

    If her Apple watch had not made it so easy for her to check her heart rate, we might have passed this episode off as “just not feeling good”. We are very happy with her watch.

    I have to wonder, however, why the ECG app didn’t shout “A-fib!!!”. I don’t think it works right.

    Larry Cruzen
     
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  2. J. A.

    J. A. Well-Known Member

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    The Apple Watch doesn’t notify automatically. This feature has to be enabled in the Health app.

    Even if it’s enabled, the Apple Watch is not constantly looking for AFib. It can’t detect all instances of it, and that might be the reason why your wife didn’t get a notification.
     
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  3. twerppoet

    twerppoet Well-Known Member

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    If you accidentally scroll the crown during the reading it goes back to 30 seconds and starts over. You need to keep a fairly steady finger on the watch and not move around. In situations where you are feeling unwell, or a bit shaky it could be a problem. I put both hands on the table, reaching over my wrist with the index finger to just touch the crown.

    Apple should probably disable crown scrolling when taking an ECG, if they can.

    It does the same thing if you accidentally move your finger off the crown, so it it might be that scrolling the crown interrupts the electrical circuit. If that’s a case, it’s a hardware design issue that needs to be addressed in the next model.

    I’m really glad you guys caught this. I hope she feels better soon.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  4. scifan57

    scifan57 Administrator Staff Member

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    I hope your wife recovers as soon as possible.
     
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  5. Larry Cruzen

    Larry Cruzen New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. A few more comments about the ECG app. First off, I didn’t expect the watch to automatically open the ECG app and notify of an anomaly. We repetitively attempted to get the app to complete its 30 second countdown and make a determination about the resulting scan. In each case the app said that the rate was over 120 BPM so the scan would be inconclusive. This app is supposed to detect A-fib and that generally involves an erratic heart rate over 120 BPM. In this case, it consistently failed. I think this app needs more development.

    The heart beat app worked fine and that is what alerted us to the fact that there was a problem.
     
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