Managing a household wasn't easy for Anne Rowe, of Fairhope, when she found herself feeling tired all the time, and short of breath.

"It had gotten to where I couldn't walk completely throughout the house without having to stop to catch my breath," Anne Rowe explained to FOX10 News.

Diagnosed with asthma, many years ago, she thought it was getting worse.

That wasn't it.

"It kept saying that I was in AFib and at first I didn't really believe it but then I decided I would go to my doctor."

That it was her Apple Watch. The built-in ECG (electrocardiogram) reading her heart rhythm and detecting the problem in 30-seconds...just from the touch of her fingertip.

"I was a stroke waiting to happen and I had no clue," Rowe said.

An EKG by doctors confirming, she was indeed in AFib, or atrial fibrillation. Her heart rate...irregular...and blood-flow...poor.

Thinking back Rowe said, "I have no question that it saved my life."

She later had open heart surgery to replace her mitral valve and is now recovering well with regular heart rhythm. And it's all thanks in part to a Christmas gift from her husband.

What is AFib?

Atrial fibrillation (also called AFib or AF) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.

Some people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until it's discovered during a physical examination. Those who do have atrial fibrillation symptoms may experience signs and symptoms such as:

  • Palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flip-flopping in your chest
  • Weakness
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Apple Watch ECG

The ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4, enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist. Part of the free watchOS 5.2 software update, the ECG app can capture heart rhythm on demand in a moment when users experience symptoms such as a rapid or skipped heart beat and help provide clinically important data to physicians.
The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch occasionally checks heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified. 
New electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Apple Watch Series 4 work together with the ECG app to enable customers to take an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Taking an ECG recording is as simple as launching the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 and touching the Digital Crown, which completes the circuit and allows electrical signals across the user’s heart to be measured. After 30 seconds, the ECG app can classify the user’s heart rhythm as AFib or sinus rhythm.
More information on the ECG app can be found here and more information on the irregular rhythm notification can be found here. Medical professionals and providers can find more information on Apple Watch, the ECG app and irregular rhythm notifications here.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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