Woman credits Apple Watch for saving her life

(NewsNation) — Smart watches have caught carjackers in Cleveland, summoned help for an unconscious man who fell in his driveway, and now, they’re uncovering medical mysteries.

For three consecutive nights, Kim Durkee was awoken by her Apple Watch, which was alerting her of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation. The technology, Durkee said, that saved her life.

“My hat’s off to Apple Watch for creating a little masterpiece,” Durkee said Wednesday on “NewsNation Prime.”

The Apple Watch has a feature that can take an electrocardiogram of the wearer, which measures heartbeat rhythm. If the watch registers an irregular rhythm, it lets the user know.

Dr. Joel Kahn cares for cardiac patients outside Detroit. He recommends the technology for any of his patients who can afford it.

“To wear something on your wrist that works like a heart doctor’s office, it’s radical,” Kahn said. “I had an 89-year-old patient of mine who figured out … how to do the electrocardiogram, how to send it to the doctor. And it was incredibly helpful.”

As for its accuracy, a study done by Apple found the watch extremely sensitive, reporting an inconclusive rate of only 6%. An independent study funded by the Cleveland Clinic put the inconclusive rate much higher at 31%.

“We actually have trouble sometimes in the office looking at an electrocardiogram … so, you know, if after decades of experience, we have trouble, you would imagine a built-in algorithm has some trouble,” Kahn said.

Still, Durkee is sold on the watch that’s glued to her wrist. The atrial myxoma — or noncancerous tumor — that gave her the irregular heartbeat was removed by surgeons.

She’s now back to the business of life with more than just time on her side.

“I acted very quickly, and I’m glad that I did,” Durkee said. “And I have now sold 19 watches that I know of. So I think Apple should buy me the brand new one in September when it comes out.”

Since Durkee started sharing her story, many people have reached out, wanting to get a watch or buy one for an older relative. She’s now back on her feet, going to her much-loved quilting classes.


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