Apple Watch Alerted Florida Teen of Kidney Failure Saving Her Life

A Florida teenager says her Apple Watch saved her life after the wearable alerted her and her family to a serious medical condition involving her kidneys.

Deanna Recktenwald, 18, was at church in the Tampa Bay area with her family when a notification appeared on her Apple Watch. The alert warned Deanna that her resting heart rate had hit 190 beats per minute, according to local media outlet WFTS.

“I didn’t know what was going on at all and it was just out of the blue,” Deanna told the local news station.

Deanna’s mother, Stacey Recktenwald, is a registered nurse and did not question the accuracy of the Apple Watch’s heart monitoring feature.

“It was alarming that the watch was telling us to seek medical attention,” Stacey told WFTS. “I didn’t even know that it had the capability of giving us that alert.”

The Tampa Bay teen’s rapid heart rate was confirmed by staff at a walk-in clinic. Deanna was then rushed to an emergency room at Tampa General Hospital, where doctors found out that she suffered from chronic kidney disease, WFTS reported.

Doctors found that both of Deanna’s kidneys were only operating at 20 percent. While she will likely require a future kidney transplant, Deanna and her family are thankful for the Apple Watch — which her parents gave to her as a Christmas present.

Deanna’s mother, Stacey, later wrote to Apple to thank the company for the Apple Watch’s lifesaving capabilities.

“I honestly feel that your Apple Watch has saved my daughter’s life,” Stacey wrote. “I am forever grateful to Apple for developing such an amazing lifesaving product.”

In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared Deanna’s story in a Tweet on Tuesday, saying that stories like hers “inspire us to dream bigger and push harder every day.”

Stories like Deanna’s inspire us to dream bigger and push harder every day. https://t.co/O7xJ9n1MHg

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 1, 2018

While this may be the first story of an Apple Watch detecting kidney-related problems, it certainly isn’t the first time that someone has credited an Apple Watch with saving their life.

  • In October, a Brooklyn man said his Apple Watch alerted him to an abnormal heart rate. The doctor discovered that he had a pulmonary embolism.
  • A Cape Cod area teenager gave a similar story when his Apple wearable alerted him to a dangerously high heart rate after a strenuous exercise session.
  • In addition to its heart rate features, several Apple Watch owners said that the device’s built-in S.O.S. feature helped them contact emergency services immediately after car accidents.

The Apple Watch’s heart rate monitoring capabilities are proven to be accurate and researchers have also found that the wearable can reliably detect various diseases. Apple itself has partnered with Stanford to launch a study to determine whether the Apple Watch can detect atrial fibrillation (also known as an abnormal heart rhythm).

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