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New Apple Watch helps man detect he was in atrial fibrillation

WPTV Apple watch heart monitor
Posted at 3:49 PM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 15:49:33-05

NASHUA, N.H. (WMUR) -- What started as a fun tech gift around Christmas ended up helping detect a Nashua man's health issue.

Barry Maden thought he was just experiencing anxiety around traveling for the holiday, but his new Apple Watch alerted him that it was something much more serious.

The self-described "tech geek" said he bought the watch in part to keep a closer eye on his health after suffering a brain injury.

"He originally got it because they have a new fall risk app where, if he were to fall and I'm not nearby, the fall sensor will sense that he fell and call 911," said his wife, Tara Maden.

But the new watch actually ended up detecting something that Maden didn't even have on his radar.

"And it said, 'It looks like your heart is in AFIB. You should contact your doctor," Maden said.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFIB, is an irregular heartbeat. If left untreated or undetected, AFIB can lead to blood clots, causing a stroke or other heart complications.

With the watch showing Maden what his actual heartbeat looked like, he decided to go to a hospital.

"When I got to the ER, they did an actual EKG on a cart -- the real deal," he said.

Sure enough, medical professionals told Maden that he was, in fact, in AFIB.

"It would've probably taken me longer had I not had something actually telling me that something's not right," he said.

Maden was sedated, and his heart was essentially stopped and restarted by doctos.

Now, the small piece of technology seems like an even greater gift to the Madens.

"Instead of just being a toy or a tchotchke, I think I'll probably pay closer attention to it," Maden said.

His wife said she feels grateful and blessed.

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