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She bought an Apple Watch to count steps — it found a heart tumor instead.

Apple Watch ECG feature
(Image credit: iMore)

The Apple Watch once again shows off its superhero-like abilities by saving the life of a woman living in Maine, as reported by Today (opens in new tab).

Kim Durkee's Apple Watch detected an irregular heart rhythm during her sleep that pointed toward the presence of atrial fibrillation. Known as Afib, the condition occurs when your heart's upper chambers and lower chambers are not in sync. This can mean your heart beats too slowly or too quickly. It's a serious condition that can lead to life-endangering problems, including heart failure.

"I didn't have one single hint that there was something wrong in my body, not one."

Of course, all that changed when Durkee started getting the AFib notifications multiple days in a row, and when she sought medical attention, sure enough, the doctor found that she did have AFib. But that wasn't the most shocking part of the discovery.

Upon further testing, ultrasounds revealed the presence of myxoma — a non-cancerous tumor located on the heart — which can cause strokes.  

Durkee needed open-heart surgery to remedy the problem, and she still wears an Apple Watch all the time. She says, "it never comes off."

Apple Watch likes to be a superhero

This is far from the first time the Apple Watch has saved someone's life (opens in new tab); it doesn't take long to find tons of stories of the best Apple Watch (opens in new tab) saving someone's life.

Like Kim Durkee, many people buy an Apple Watch to help track fitness but get a ton of potential life-saving features like Fall Detection and AFib monitoring. Even the ability to place emergency calls can be a massive boon in certain situations.

The great thing is Apple is committed to making the Apple Watch's health tracking features even better in watchOS 9 (opens in new tab), which will be able to track AFib history and allow users to have important information at their fingertips, including an estimate of how frequently AFib is happening.

One thing is for sure, wearing an Apple Watch on your wrist could just save your life.

Luke Filipowicz
Luke Filipowicz

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 


Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.