A Florida family is crediting their teenage daughter’s Apple Watch with saving her life. 18-year-old Deanna Recktenwald of Lithia, Florida, was experiencing an elevated heart rate, to which her Apple Watch alerted her. Deanna’s family took her to an urgent care facility where she was sent to the emergency room, as she was experiencing kidney failure.
The story began when Deanna and her family were attending church. She received an alert from her Apple Watch that her resting heart rate had jumped to 160. This was much higher than the average resting heart rate, which according to the Mayo Clinic, should be somewhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Deanna Recktenwald told ABC News: “The only symptom that I had was that I was out of breath from walking and standing and sitting so it kind of didn’t make much sense.” Luckily, Deanna’s mother, Stacey, also happened to be a registered nurse. She knew that an elevated heart rate could be indicative of another issue. “It was alarming that the watch was telling us to seek medical attention,” Stacey told ABC News, ”I didn’t even know that it had the capability of giving us that alert.”
Deanna’s heart rate eventually spiked to 190, according to her Apple Watch. Stacey rushed her daughter to an urgent care clinic. The staff at the clinic confirmed that Deanna’s Apple Watch had accurately measured her heart rate. Deanna was quickly rushed to the emergency room at Tampa General Hospital, where doctors discovered she was in kidney failure after performing blood tests. Deanna’s kidneys were found to be operating at only 20%. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and stayed at the hospital for three days. Deanna will most likely require a kidney transplant in the future. Despite that information, the Recktenwald family was just happy that Deanna’s condition was discovered, thanks to her Apple Watch.
This was not the first time that an Apple Watch had alerted someone to a potential health problem. In 2015, Tech Times reported on Paul Houle Jr. Houle, a football player, and his heart rate had become elevated during practice, but he was also experiencing breathing problems and back pain. Hours later, Houle’s Apple Watch indicated that he still had an elevated heart rate at 145 beats per minute. His trainer, Brian Torres, took his heart rate manually and confirmed the watch was correct. Houle was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis, which according to medlineplus.gov, causes “the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood,” which can cause kidney damage.
After Deanna’s Apple Watch essentially saved her life, Stacey Recktenwald wrote an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook. In the email, which was shared through ABC News, Stacey wrote “If it wasn’t for [Deanna’s] Apple watch alarming her about her HR we wouldn’t have discovered her kidney issue. I honestly feel that your Apple Watch has saved my daughter’s life.” To her surprise, she received a response from Tim Cook, who wrote “I’m happy to hear your daughter is fine now. Thanks for sharing her story. This inspires us to keep pushing.” Tim Cook also shared Deanna’s story on his Twitter.
Deanna’s experience inspired Stacey to buy her own Apple Watch. Since her health scare, Deanna has refused to take hers off. Stacey told ABC News, “She won’t go to sleep without the watch on. She’s so dependent on it because she was so shocked when the doctor said she was in kidney failure.” Deanna has also remained optimistic about her condition, telling ABC News “Now that we have some answers to why this is happening we can prevent something major from happening down the road.”
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