A New Jersey woman is alive because her Apple Watch has alerted her to a high heart rate. It turned out that his heart was covered with a viral infection.

Deanna Recktenwald received an unusual notification from her Apple Watch Series 2 in April 2018.

"See a doctor," reads the 18-year-old resting heart rate, which reached 190 beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate for adults 18 years and older is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The teenage girl from the Tampa Bay area, who said she did not feel any alarming symptoms, was immediately taken to an emergency care facility by her mother, Stacey Recktenwald. The doctors told the family that the high school student was in renal failure.

"Without this watch, I'm afraid she was one of the children at the front – the healthy kid who goes to college and dies in his sleep," Stacey told USA TODAY.

More and more evidence shows how smartwatches go beyond lifestyle practices and fashionable training tools, doubling SOS signals during sudden medical emergencies.

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Michael Glenn, 34, from Utah, said he bought a Fitbit so he could count calories and watch his eating habits from time to time. In 2018, the device warned him that his heart rate was 40 beats per minute, which is well below what is considered normal.

"My wife had to convince me to go to the hospital," Glenn said. After being immediately airlifted for emergency surgery, Glenn found that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked and his central artery blocked at 80%.

"The doctors said I had a 50/50 survival chance," Glenn said. "I'm just a hoarse guy who bought a Fitbit to be able to continue to eat more pizza. In the end, it saved my life. "

Deanna Recktenwald, 18, may still be alive today because of her Apple Watch. (Photo11: Deanna Recktenwald)

An Apple Watch saved Christina's life at Ling in December, according to a resident of Edgewater, New Jersey.

"The watch told me that my heart rate was 150 while I was idle for 10 minutes," said Ling, 45. After going to the hospital, she discovered that she was suffering from a heart tamponade, an abnormal fluid around the heart.

"My heart was essentially stuffy," said Ling. "But it's really crazy, I thought it was just the flu and I never Apple Watch to send me health alerts. It has saved my life completely. "

And in the case of the Florida teenager struggling with kidney disease, the emergency notification from the Apple Watch has pushed the entire family to get tested for kidney disease. Deanna's mother, three sisters and father were all tested positive.

More: Apple and Johnson & Johnson Partner with Apple to Reduce Risk of Stroke

The ability of well-being devices to identify medical emergencies and underlying health problems does not just happen by chance. These gadgets were designed this way.

Since 2014, Fitbits, which are not FDA-approved medical devices, have been using tracking technology to monitor the heartbeat automatically, all day long, during training and beyond. This perpetual monitoring can give device users the ability to document heart rhythms that can not be detected during a planned trip to the doctor.

"We are focused on developing hardware, software and services that can give users an even more complete picture of their health," said the makers of the famous training gadget in a statement. "Fitbit technology has redefined the way users can learn about their health by: making data that was previously available only in a wrist-accessible lab."

Apple Watch offers several features that can help people in extreme circumstances, including the ability to call 911 from the wrist, fall detection, irregular heartbeat notifications and ECG application.

More: The Apple Watch ECG feature detects irregular launches of heartbeats. Here's how it works

(Photo11: Apple)

CEO of Apple, Tim Cook said recently in the United States TODAY: "I think you will be able to look back into the future and the biggest contribution Apple has made to the health of the people."

Some experts say that wearable devices can be on the right track to provide patients with clinical grade data that physicians can use to make diagnoses.

"I remember the turn of the millennium and we were starting to talk about remote monitoring from the doctor's office, which involved large devices, the size of the TVs being inappropriately transported to the patient," said Kevin McGinnis, senior advisor. communications and technology. for the national association of EMS managers.

"Today, we have Apple watches equipped with electrocardiogram functions.You can remotely create a PDF file of your heartbeat and send it directly to your doctor," McGinnis said. He said that in the future, wearable devices will be able to "pump insulin, defibrillate the heart or pump another medicine as a result of an emergency situation arising in the body".

For now, the type of information collected from smart watches can give doctors a glimpse of the daily behavior of patients that can be used to improve care.

James E. Ip, associate professor of clinical medicine at the Weill Cornell Medicine Research Center, published a report in January 2019 that shed light on ways in which fitness watches can be used to identify cardiac arrhythmia and Other typical heartbeat patterns.

Ip said that he had bought his father a Fitbit Charge 2 HR in 2016. The device almost immediately detected his father's abnormal heartbeat. After further testing, the father of Ip was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, a sudden surge of abnormally rapid heartbeat that may occur at rest.

The sudden increase in heart rate goes from 110 to 120 beats / minute twice (pink arrows) from 1 to 2.5 hours each time in the absence of physical activity. (Photo11: James Ip cardiac electrophysiologist)

A chart on the Fitbit app showed that the 71-year-old's heartbeat was sporadically entering the range of cardio training, "even though he was completely sedentary," Ip said. Her father was then treated with a catheter ablation, a minimally invasive procedure in which a thin flexible tube is implanted into the blood vessels around the heart.

Some health insurance agencies have begun to partner and collaborate with smart watch manufacturers to provide wearable devices directly to consumers.

In early 2019, Fitbit quietly introduced a new sleep tracking activity, which can only be achieved through health care plans or employers. Called Fitbit Inspire, the devices were designed to "facilitate the development of healthy habits for everyone," according to the company website.

Aetna, the insurer owned by CVS Health, has partnered with Apple to launch its wellness app, Attain, in January 2019. The app tracks the exercise and behavior of the company. sleep and offers rewards to users for healthy habits. One of the rewards is a free Apple Watch.

"We are currently designing Attain so that it is personalized and clinically relevant with respect to the health status of each individual," said Alan Lotvin, MD, executive vice president of processing at CVS Health.

You can afford the cost of an Apple Watch thanks to the rewards obtained through Attain's Aetna program. (Photo11: Aetna)

In a collaboration between Aetna and Apple in 2016, 90% of participants said their use of Apple Watch was good for their health. Aetna reported.

Ip said that smart watches leading to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions "will likely become more common as the use of consumer health-based technology develops."

In fact, global sales of wearable devices will grow an average of 20% each year over the next five years, becoming a $ 29 billion market with 243 million units sold by 2022 , according to analyst CCS Insight.

In 2018, US smartwatch sales totaled nearly $ 5 billion, more than double those of 2017, according to market research firm NPD Group.

Apple was the undisputed market leader, followed by Samsung and Fitbit. Thanks in large part to its famous Gear line and its Galaxy Watch, Samsung has captured about 6% of the global apparel market by the end of 2018, according to IDC Market Intelligence. Fitbit owns 10.9%, while Apple has captured 13.1% after launching its medical-approved, Series 4 watch.

Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company, took the lead with 21.5% of global sales.

More: Apple again dominates the apparel market: a crazy take

Nevertheless, medical experts say that relying solely on smartwatches for medical advice is not a good idea. Potential side effects include accidental 911 calls and unreliable readings.

In January 2019, the Apple Watch Series 4 was a source of frustration among emergency dispatch centers located in Colorado ski resorts, such as Vail.

When some skiers hurtled down the slopes, they forgot to turn off the fall detection service. After slipping, injured or not, a call to 911 was triggered by the watch.

"We have seen this in the past with the devices" help me-who-am-fallen-and-I-can-I-can-not-be, "those that the elderly and homebound have tend to have, "said McGinnis, who is the communications technology advisor of several national EMS associations. "We want to avoid a lot of unfounded alert systems."

In addition to occasional false alarms, "some heart rhythms can shake a sensor, resulting in a perceived reading of the high heart rate," said Ip, a cardiac electrophysiologist. "If a device is too loose on your wrist, a reading may be wrong, skin color, environmental conditions and other factors may also produce erroneous readings."

Ip said that in some cases, information obtained by fitness trackers can be difficult to interpret and analyze by doctors.

"These devices are by no means perfect," said Ip. "But, taken with medical devices, these elements can be potentially useful, sometimes it's better than having nothing at all."

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

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