Apple Watch 'saved woman's life' after detecting heart condition

The Apple Watch shows your heart rate which can help identify anything out of the ordinary.
The Apple Watch shows your heart rate which can help identify anything out of the ordinary Photo credit: Getty Images

A Michigan woman has credited the Apple Watch with saving her life after her heart-rate spiked unexpectedly.

Diane Feenstra told local news outlet WZZM 13 the most vigorous thing she had done was walk up 12 steps but her heart rate spiked to 169 beats per minute.

"So I called my husband at work and said 'do you think this is concerning? And he said 'call your doctor'," Feenstra said. 

She had an ECG at the emergency room and that revealed she had a heart attack without realising it.

"Unlike men who feel an elephant on their chest many times, a woman's symptoms are very different," she said.

"I had pain going down my left hand, I had a little swelling in my left foot, I had indigestion that I just explained away as acid reflux that I was experiencing as I got older.

"The biggest thing was pain in my shoulder and I figured I had vacuumed and put my muscles out of whack somehow," Feenstra said.

Following the ECG she was handed four aspirin tablets, told to chew them and to either get an ambulance or get her husband to drive her to a heart specialist.

Further analysis revealed she had a full blockage in her left artery, known colloquially as the 'widowmaker' which, despite its name, affects women too.

Actor James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano, died from a widowmaker heart attack while indie film-maker Kevin Smith was lucky to survive similar.

As well as the Apple Watch, her husband Gary also deserves some credit - he bought the watch for her birthday. But, ultimately, it was seeing the spike in her heart rate that saved Feenstra, something that other brands of smartwatch also offer.

"It's such an easy thing to see what your heart rate is, had I not done that that morning, who knows but I may have had another heart attack that would have been fatal," she told the news channel.