How a Man’s Fitbit May Have Helped Save His Life in Camden ER

There is never any shortage of crazy Fitbit news (remember that time $35,000 worth of counterfeit Fitbits were seized in Philly?), but this news takes the cake, in my opinion: As Gizmodo reports, doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden used information from a man’s Fitbit app to help to determine the proper medical procedure to treat his heart condition with, possibly saving his life. Crazy, right?

The clinical team wrote about their Fitbit findings in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Here’s breakdown of what happened: A 42-year-old man in New Jersey went to the ER after having a seizure, and when doctors were checking him out, they noticed he also had an atrial fibrillation (that’s a fancy way of saying he had an irregular and fast heart beat). They needed to treat the atrial fibrillation, but they were unsure whether it was a chronic condition or if it had been prompted by the seizure. If it had been prompted by the seizure, they’d use electricity to reset his heart rate, but if it was chronic, using that option could trigger a stroke. The other option would be to not treat it, which could also end with him having a stroke. (Big ups to all the doctors out there who get through the day without having hourly panic attacks, by the way.)

Enter Fitbit to save the day: The doctors used the man’s Fitbit app on his phone to figure out exactly when his heart rate had jumped and become irregular. Using the app, they were able to figure out that it coincided with the seizure, so they proceeded to use electrocardioversion, possibly saving his life. So next time you think your Fitbit clashes with your outfit, maybe think again? It could be good for more than just counting your steps.

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