LIFESTYLE

73-Year-Old's Fitbit Saved Her Life By Alerting Doctors To Lung Blood Clots

'She may have actually died if she had not sought medical attention.'

06/04/2017 14:39

A 73-year-old woman was alerted to a potentially fatal health problem when her Fitbit displayed a resting heart rate of 140 beats per minute.

Patricia Lauder, a retiree from Connecticut, called an ambulance when her heart rate rocketed and, after being rushed to hospital for tests, doctors revealed she had two large blood clots in her lungs.

The condition could’ve proven fatal if left unattended, as the blockage in her lungs had caused her heart to work harder to circulate blood.

“My heart had enlarged to about 65% beyond its (normal) capacity,” Lauder said, according to CNN

Janine Gelineau / UConn Health
Patricia Lauder

Lauder had been battling a sinus infection, which she initially blamed for her increasing heart rate. But when her Fitbit showed that her heart beat wasn’t slowing, she began to get worried. 

After visiting her doctor’s, testing and X-rays showed it wasn’t a cold or pneumonia. 

When her heart rate reached 140 beats per minute - and she even couldn’t do simple chores without getting out of breath - she knew something was desperately wrong.

According to the NHS, most adults have a resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute.

Lauder called an ambulance and was rushed to the emergency department at her local hospital in Farmington. It was there that she was told she had blood clots in her lungs, which were putting pressure on her heart. 

Dr JuYong Lee, director of vascular and endovascular medicine at UConn Health Calhoun Cardiology Center, where Lauder was treated, said: “I think the Fitbit actually helped her decide whether or not this was a serious condition at that time.

“This condition is very critical and she may have actually died if she had not sought medical attention.”

It’s not the first time a fitness tracker has been hailed for saving someone’s life, last year Sarah-Jayne McIntosh was revising for exams when she noticed her heart rate had soared to 210 beats per minute on her Fitbit Surge.

The then 18-year-old called an ambulance and was rushed to hospital. It was there that doctors told the student from Southport, UK, that she had an undetected heart problem involving a “misfiring chamber”, which could have killed her.

Similarly, Felicity McQueen, 34, from Western Australia, was alerted to a serious heart condition which could cause heart failure if left untreated - all thanks to her Fitbit. 

After glancing at her fitness tracker not long after she’d started wearing it, she noticed her heartbeat was at 150 beats per minute. She went to hospital and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, one of the most common forms of abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke.

“The Fitbit saved my life,” she told Mamamia. “If it wasn’t for that it wouldn’t have been investigated.”

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