How the Apple Watch helped save this man’s life

“Virginia resident Ken Robson, 64, had been visiting his son in the San Diego area in mid-June. “I had been noticing that I had been feeling weak and lightheaded,” he said. He also noticed severe drops in his heart rate [via his Apple Watch],” Neil Versel reports for MedCity News. “‘Your heart rate doesn’t go into the 30s and 40s unless you’re an Olympic athlete,’ Robson said. He knew something was wrong, so he went online and self-diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia known as sick sinus syndrome.”

“Robson had a doctor’s appointment for shortly after he was to return home, but a day before he was scheduled to depart San Diego, he went to the emergency room at Scripps Mercy Hospital. ‘I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ on the airplane’ who caused an unscheduled landing due to a medical emergency, or worse, who died in flight,” Versel reports. “When he got to the hospital, Robson told staff that he had been tracking his heart rate on the watch, and had two weeks of back data. “Going in with the data certainly reduced my stay by a couple of days,” he told MedCity News. It also assured that he could have the operation nearly immediately.”

“Because the hospital could check his Apple Watch data, Robson did not have to wear a heart monitor for a week before the medical team at Scripps Mercy could confirm the diagnosis of sick sinus syndrome,” Versel reports. “Robson had a pacemaker implanted on almost an outpatient basis; he was held in the hospital overnight, but released the day after the surgery, and immediately returned to normal life upon discharge.”

“‘I was watching [my heart rate] on my watch while they were watching on a [medical-grade] monitor, and they synched up,’ according to Robson,” Versel reports. “He added that ‘we’re just beginning to learn the possibilities’ of the Apple Watch and similar wearables. Robson noted that users can make phone calls by voice command from their watches as long as they are tied by Bluetooth to an iPhone. With this feature, the Apple Watch could serve as a lifeline in an emergency when the wearer is unable to reach and manually dial the phone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yet another example of how Apple Watch is changing lives for the better. In this case, helping to save a life, in fact.

A convert’s Apple Watch diary: Three months in, a skeptic no longer – July 31, 2015
Apple Watch dominates smartwatches with 75% market share – July 28, 2015
The Apple Watch reviewed, 3 months on – July 24, 2015
Apple Watch after 3 months: It’s still personal – July 24, 2015
Apple Watch: A brilliant addition to my life – July 24, 2015
Non-techies love their Apple Watches even more than tech users – July 20, 2015
Look who bought the first Apple Watches – July 14, 2015
Apple Watch satisfaction is unprecedented at 97%; beats original iPhone and iPad – July 20, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Mur” for the heads up.]


    1. I miss John Denver. I have eclectic tastes in music, ranging from heavy metal and hard rock to R&B and folk. I can usually find at least a few songs that I like.

      John Denver produced some great folk music and his voice was smooth with excellent range. I can only imagine what he might have produced if not for his untimely demise.

      1. He was great. 1974 was his best time when I was a young man. He also had some of the best musicians with him and even some of the Wrecking Crew (Hal Blaine). One of my old female friends was a semi-famous backup singer in the day and even dated him way back when. I’m still getting over his breakup with Annie. 🙂

        Yeah, I’m very eclectic too. Ain’t it great?

  1. Lucky for Ken he was able see a physician in time. Apparently, this gentleman had been having symptoms for sometime and had not made an appointment. Obviously, the symptoms Ken were experiencing were not evidence enough that he was having a medical problem.

  2. Very fortunate circumstances: he was attentive to his symptoms, he knew the capabilities of his Watch, he chose Scripps, he had a forward looking treatment team, he was his best patient advocate. I hope his experience gets the professional attention it deserves. Making appropriate advanced technology commonplace benefits everyone. Medical telemetry, another offshoot of 1960’s space exploration. Thanks, Apple!!!

    1. How many other peoples’ lives were saved without an Apple Watch, but were concerned enough about their symptoms to see a physician? Truly, these are the more fortunate ones.

  3. Unfortunately, AppleWatches don’t appear to be getting on many people’s wrists so not very many lives are going to be saved by it. The general consumer doesn’t seem to have any major interest at all in wearing smartwatches. So far, Apple appears to have made an obvious mistake in judgment concerning wearable gadgets. Nice attempt, though as no major losses were incurred.

      1. Ouch. Maybe ask your Apple Watch how many it really is. You are off by a factor of TEN.

        I’ll get an Apple Watch when it does blood pressure too … and I think quite a few are holding out like me …

      2. I haven’t seen an Apple Watch in my neck of the woods. Where do you live?

        Considering there are approximately 250,000,000 adults in U.S. Apple has sold 25,000,000 Apple Watches in three months. That’s 3 watches per second. Funny, Tim Cook has bragged about this number.

    1. Where the hell are you getting this idea from that Apple isn’t selling many watches or that Apple has made an “obvious mistake in judgement”? Grocery store tabloids? The woman who does your pedicures?

      Tim Cook said this in the quarterly results call with investors:
      “Sales of the watch did exceed our expectations, and they did so despite supply still trailing demand at the end of the quarter… In fact, the Apple Watch sell-through was higher than the comparable launch periods of the original iPhone or the original iPad,” he said. “And so as I look at all of these things, we feel really great about how we did.”

      That’s not rumor, or speculation. That’s from the CEO of the most valuable company in North America. He doesn’t say sales exceeded expectations or that sell-through was higher than the comparable period for the iPhone or iPad unless it really did.

      The iPhone has been around EIGHT YEARS, and the iPad five years. The Watch is a BRAND NEW PRODUCT, shipping for only a couple of months.

      So, unless you’ve had a frontal lobotomy, or unless you’re just willfully ignorant, there’s no reason to believe Watch is anything but successful at this point in time.

      For chrissakes, it’s not going to be on a hundred million wrists overnight!

  4. The Apple Watch will be the must have gift this Holiday season. The Apple Watch sales will explode upward when, not if; they become a Blue Cross/UNH/Anthem et al mandated device for monitoring blood pressure, pulse, blood oxygenation via a purchase subsidy voucher or simple delivery option to the medical user.

  5. I hate to break it to you all, BUT heart rate alone is insufficient evidence to diagnose a serious arrhythmia. What they don’t tell you is that a EKG was probably done at the hospital and the condition was bad enough that they caught the irregularity. If he had been vigilant enough to go to a heart specialist at the first sign of any weakness, this condition would have been caught, regardless of the Apple Watch data or not.

    1. You’re missing the bigger picture. Yes, heart rate alone is insufficient to diagnose, but it can be used to gain some insight into the patient’s recent condition – something even comprehensive testing can’t do.

      More important, Watch give the Pt some personal insight to realize something wasn’t right and go seek medical attention. THAT is valuable. Feeling “weak” isn’t necessarily a red flag. Without the additional awareness hard data offered, he may not have been vigilant enough to go seek medical attention.

      Anything that helps give people more awareness about what’s going on with their bodies is a good thing.

  6. I wonder how he got that heart rate data out of his watch to show his doctor? The data is stored in the Health app, but selecting Show All Data for the Heart Rate section, will only show the data, not give a way to export it.

    On my iPhone, I have many thousands of heart rate entries, from measurements every 10 seconds during workouts, to every 10 minutes for daily wearing periods. This means, my Show All Data screen never actually populates. The wheel just spins on and on, until I give up. The new iOS 9 beta breaks the data down into daily bundles, so I’m hopeful when the update comes out it will be useful again.

    But, even then, I’m not aware of any third party apps that can read the Health app’s data store and display useful charts and graphs, and then provide an export feature for printing or forwarding a digital version to another app for analysis.

    So, are there any?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.