As much as people talk about technology’s negative impact on our lives, it can also help save lives. Case in point, Skylar Joslin, a 13-year-old who credits his Apple Watch with saving his life. Skylar’s mother, Liz, shared her son’s story in hopes of highlighting how tech can alert people to serious and undetected medical conditions.
In April 2018, Skylar was attending class when his Apple Watch alerted him to a rapidly accelerating heart rate, going over 190 beats per minute (BPM). Skylar texted his mom a screenshot of the heart rate, writing, “Mommy, there’s something wrong. I’m not doing anything.”
Joslin picked him up from school and took him to a local emergency room. By the time they arrived, his heart rate had reached 202 BPM. Doctors diagnosed Skylar with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), an abnormally fast heart rhythm resulting from improper electrical activity in the upper part of the heart.
Often congenital (occurring at birth), the condition doesn’t always present itself until years later. When it does, the heart suddenly starts to beat at rates of 180 to 280 beats a minute in kids, up to 300 beats a minute in infants. SVT occurs in one out of every 2,500 children.
In the emergency room, Skylar’s BPM reached 280. Though there are myriad ways to correct SVT, doctors chose to perform a cardiac ablation on Skyler. He’s now being monitored for his condition with the proper equipment and waiting for additional procedures.
Skylar’s story definitely isn’t the first time wearable devices have been credited with saving their user’s lives. Last year, Bob Burdett was riding his bike when he fell and hit his head, knocking him unconscious. His Apple Watch alerted his son via text, and also called 911.
Life-saving tech goes back to the original Apple Watch model, not just the latest additions. Users can be notified if they have abnormally high or low heart rates. With cases like Burdett’s, the Apple Watch can also recognize when a user is in distress and contact emergency services.