KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville woman discovered a dangerous condition all because of a small everyday device: her Fitbit.
Doris Jubran had owned a Fitbit for the last 10 years, but a few years ago, she said she stopped carrying it as often. But after the death of her husband, she made an effort to be more active and purchased a new Fitbit to help track her activity.
Like many new devices, Doris’s watch asked for her to download a health app when she was setting it up and to enter her personal information.
Once it was set up, she began using it to track her eating, drinking and activity habits. The device was great for keeping up with how many steps she was getting, but she didn’t realize that the Fitbit would be monitoring something that might just save her life.
The Fitbit keeps track of heart rate information, including while the wearer is resting. During this monitoring, the Fitbit noticed and alerted Doris that she had an irregular heart rate and possibly atrial fibrillation. Also known as A-fib, Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular, often very rapid heart rhythm that can lead to blood clots in the heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.
At this point, Doris hadn’t felt any different than normal. The watch continued to give her these notifications for the next four or five days, and then one night, something felt off. Doris noticed a bit of discomfort in her chest, and then as she drove by an urgent care the next day, July 4, she decided to stop and get checked out.
When she saw a doctor, they quickly performed an electrocardiogram (EKG) and noticed something was very wrong. The doctor quickly called for an ambulance to take Doris to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where another EKG was performed.
After the doctors at UT administered some medication, Doris’s heart responded well, but the cardiologist was still concerned. After a test to check her heart for any blood clots, Doris’s heart was then treated with electrical cardioversion, which fixed the irregular rhythm.
Doris is very thankful for her Fitbit and the notification that saved her life. She said that the Fitbit is like having her own personal nurse watching over her and also includes features where you can connect and challenge friends.
Currently, multiple models of the Fitbit can support this potentially lifesaving feature. The irregular heart rhythm notifications are available on the Sense, Versa 2, Versa 3, Lite, Charge 3, Charge 4, Charge 5, Luxe, and Inspire 2.