How the Apple Watch's ECG feature saved a Haryana resident’s life

The Apple Watch is quite well-known for its health features, and there have been several incidents where some of these features have actually managed to save people's lives, particularly the ECG feature, and the fall alert notification. One of the latest incidents of Apple Watch coming to the rescue happened right here in India.

On March 12, Nitesh Chopra, a 34-year-old dentist from Yamuna Nagar, Haryana, felt some discomfort in his chest. Chopra then used the ECG monitor on the Apple Watch to check and it showed an irregular heart rhythm (Afib) alert.

Chopra and his wife Neha headed to the nearest hospital immediately and showed the doctor the ECG report the Apple Watch had generated. The doctor followed that up with an ECG at the hospital that also showed irregular rhythm and confirmed what the watch had alerted.

Chopra was admitted and angiography was performed on him which revealed that the main coronary artery was completely blocked. A stent has now been placed in Chopra’s heart.

Following this incident, Chopra’s wife wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook to thank him. “We reached the hospital only because of the technology provided by you and my husband is now fine and healthy. I wish you lots of love and happiness and thank you for giving my husband his life,” Neha wrote.

"I’m so glad you sought medical attention and received the treatment you needed. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Be well. Best, Tim,” Cook responded back.

“We ignored the readings thinking a young man in his early 30s can't have such arrhythmia. But our last reading on Saturday, March 12, was consistent with the previous alerts and made us believe that something was not right with my heart health and we should rush to the hospital,” Chopra said.

“Once we reached the hospital, the doctor did an ECG and we even compared it with the monitor. When I was in CCU, my wife and I are were continuously comparing our Apple Watch reading with the monitor and they were in sync,” he added.

The option to record heartbeat and rhythm with the electrical heart sensor on the watch is available on Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series, 6 and Series 7. The ECG app on your iPhone can then check the recording for atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is a form of irregular rhythm.

How the Apple Watch's ECG feature saved a Haryana resident’s life

“The ECG app records an electrocardiogram which represents the electrical pulses that make your heartbeat. The ECG app checks these pulses to get your heart rate and see if the upper and lower chambers of your heart are in rhythm. If they’re out of rhythm, that could be AFib,” Apple explains.

In case you own one of the Apple Watches listed above, and have not set up the ECG feature yet, this is what you need to do:

How to install and set up the ECG app

The ECG app is installed during the ECG app setup in the Health app on your iPhone.

First, open the Health app on your iPhone. Then, follow the onscreen steps.

If you don't see a prompt to set up, tap the Browse tab, then tap Heart, go to Electrocardiograms (ECG), and then click on ‘Set Up ECG App’.

After you complete set-up, open the ECG app on the Apple Watch to take an ECG.

If you still don’t see the app on your Apple Watch, open the Watch App on your iPhone and tap Heart. In the ECG section, tap Install to install the ECG app.

Importantly, the report that the Apple Watch creates is not a medical report, it can be shown to the doctor but a proper ECG will still have to be performed in the hospital before a proper medical diagnosis can be delivered.

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