Apple Watch saves Capetonian’s life

Apple Watch - Vitality

"I wanted to use my Apple Watch to get healthier through Vitality, but it ended up saving my life" - Russell Pengelly, Discovery Vitality member


Entrepreneur and Discovery Vitality member, Russell Pengelly, lives a high-energy and driven lifestyle. In February 2017, the Capetonian found himself between meetings during the sort of fast-paced day typical of running his educational software business. A gym-goer, he’d developed a habit of regularly checking his Apple Watch.

"My pulse reading was 160 beats per minute. I put it down to my excitement over developments at work including an overseas trip the following week," Russell explained. "It was also hot and I’d had about five or six diet softdrinks," he adds. “But, in the back of my mind, I knew something was wrong.”

Russell's concern was justified. His pulse remained elevated all afternoon, through the night and well into his return to Cape Town, about 36 hours after his Apple Watch had first alerted him to a potential cardiac problem. After urgent consultation with his GP, an ECG and emergency meds, Russell found himself opposite his cardiologist, who, to Russell's shock, couldn't believe he was still alive and kicking. His patient was suffering from a condition known as Atrial Fibrillation—a form of irregular heart beat that can lead to poor blood flow, clots, stroke, heart failure and more. His cardiologist used cardioversion, a technique that uses electricity to treat an abnormal heart rate, to restore Russell's cardiac rhythm to normal. 

Russell's vigilance and ability to measure his heart rate in real-time on his Apple Watch, proved life-saving. "I wanted to use my Apple Watch to get healthier through Vitality, but it ended up saving my life," reflected Russell. The incident was a serious wake up call for the father of two, who has since continued his daily gym session but now avoids coffee, all fizzy drinks and sugar.


Published courtesy of Discovery

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