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When doctors evaluated a man’s heart following a seizure, they opted to use his FitBit to see whether or not they needed to reset his heart rate. According to Gizmodo, this was the first time a fitness tracker was used in this sort of emergency setting. It might have saved the man’s life.
— Medgadget (@Medgadget) April 6, 2016
“During the patient’s examination, it was noted that he was wearing a wrist activity tracker (FitBit Charge HR, Fitbit, San Francisco, CA), which was synchronized with an application on the patient’s smartphone,” the clinical team stated in their report, “The application was accessed on the patient’s smartphone and revealed a baseline pulse rate between 70 and 80 beats/min, with an immediate persistent increase to a range of 140 to 160 bpm at the approximate time of the patient’s seizure. The pulse rate remained elevated until administration of the diltiazem in the field.”
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Basically, doctors were a bit cloudy on the medical history of that particular patient. They didn’t know if his faster-than-usal heart rate was a chronic condition or a symptom of his seizure — this is a huge distinction when determining whether or not you can artificially reset someone’s heart rate. The man’s app allowed doctors to quickly isolate the info they needed to treat him effectively. Fitness trackers are far from perfect, but the implications here are hard to ignore. As trackers get more adepth at gathering tailored health metrics, doctors (and patients) could have one more life-saving tool.