Home Health The beautiful side of technology: “So the Apple Watch saved my life”

The beautiful side of technology: “So the Apple Watch saved my life”

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8 am, last October 14: upon awakening, a young man who lives in Montagnola, south of Rome, receives a notification from the Apple Watch 6, also worn during the night to track sleep quality. He has possible atrial fibrillation.

A moment of excitement, some electrocardiograms always carried out through the clock that confirm the alert, the download and sharing of the traces and data in pdf with the general practitioner. Then straight to the emergency room, where the professional electrocardiogram confirms some problems with the electrical activity of the heart. All within two hours. So, a few days ago, 27-year-old Roman Simone Deriu saved his life, avoiding possible consequences and setting an adequate therapy. Thanks to the gadget that he always wears on his wrist (and of which Apple has just presented the new generation).

Now it is the phase of specialized medical investigations to understand the causes of that disorder, but the emergency was resolved before it could produce damage such as the onset of thrombus and stroke, linked to the loss of contractile and enlargement capacity of the atria and to the decrease in blood velocity in the atrial chambers. Embolisms, intestinal and renal infarcts and precisely strokes and ischemias: the consequences of the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia (incidence of 1% in the general population, which rises to 6% over the age of 60, higher in other countries) may be different, depending on the subject. And often very serious: “This is why I cannot say that I feel a miracle worker, but certainly a person who is greatly helped”, confessed Deriu to Italian Tech.

Simone Deriu

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After a few days he felt the need to scrivere a Tim Cook, Ad di Apple, con una mail intitolata “I think Apple Watch saved my life. Thank You”. In a few lines, the 27-year-old, who works as a programmer, thanked all the Apple staff and briefly told his story: “I think it is very important that anyone who has worked or works at Apple knows that it has definitely improved my life. , as well as that of many other people around the world ”. The 60-year-old CEO of the tech giant replied within 24 hours: “Simone, I’m so glad you sought medical help and received the treatment you needed. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It inspires us to keep moving forward. You look good. Tim “.

In fact, the health front on the Watch has always been one that Cook himself seems most attentive to: in an interview with Bloomberg some time ago he explained that one of the best moments of his day is just when, in the morning, he reads the emails of those who, like Simone, managed to save himself or discover something unknown about his health thanks to the Watch. Cases similar to that of the young Roman have been multiplying for years in every part of the world and increasing in number as the new watch series come out and as the operating system enables other types of health trend analysis. The latest news came last year: the one to evaluate the blood oxygenation level, an essential parameter in the middle of the Covid-19 emergency. A few years ago, during one of the very popular keynotes, a video was also seen in which some of these stories were told from Cupertino: people who had their lives saved thanks to a notification. One of the important ones, however: the one about the state of one’s heart.

From the Heart Rate app on the Apple Watch, and as long as you have updated iPhone and Watch to the latest version of the respective operating system, you can in fact enable alerts to receive an alert in case of high or low heart rate or, as in the case of Deriu, of irregular heart rhythm. And then, from Series 4, it is possible to carry out single-lead Ecg: “When I arrived at the emergency room of Sant’Eugenio I noticed a bit of coldness on the Watch’s alert – explained the young programmer – On the other hand I myself, as soon as I woke up, had thought of some mistake. However, the professionalism was absolute: I entered the orange code and, just as the Watch was sending me a further notification, the hospital ECG confirmed the problem. At that point everyone changed their mind ”. Not surprisingly, it was necessary to practice an electrical cardioversion for Simone: it is a procedure with which an electric shock is delivered on the chest that causes a simultaneous contraction of all the cardiac muscle fibers. At that point they start to contract in a rhythmic way and the atrial and ventricular arrhythmias are resolved as follows: “The essential data, for me, in addition to alertness, remains the simplicity with which it is possible to share data and information with your doctor, which I did by downloading them from the Health app and sending them via chat – added Deriu, who has always been a passionate Apple customer, with the Watch on his wrist since the first series – A speed that in two hours took me from alarm to hospital. What is called a game changer factor ”.

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Deriu is a Watch lover: he also developed, with a colleague, a successful application called Buddywatch, a community for sharing watch faces downloaded over a million times. But it’s obviously just a combination: the beneficial effects of such a wrist sensor system are for everyone. The chronicles have been telling for years about hundreds if not thousands of lives saved (or “strongly helped”, as Simone said) by the notices of the clock, with stories sometimes shared on social networks as well. In February last year, a 33-year-old was operated on by specialists from the Arrhythmology Department of Maria Cecilia Hospital in Cotignola, in the province of Ravenna, after severe ventricular tachycardia: the first alarm bell was launched by the Apple Watch; the previous year, however, a former ski instructor then 65 had saved himself from a heart attack thanks to notifications.

“I have always thought of the Watch as an accessory above all of style – is Deriu’s reflection – I enthusiastically welcomed the news related to health, but, a bit like what happens with health insurance, I was hoping that I would never have to use them. Especially at 27, young and sporty and with a character that leads me to take things with great lightness, without dramatizing. Instead, when you try the effectiveness of these gadgets on your skin, things change. And maybe I too will put an app in the pipeline that is useful for health “.

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