• Doctor uses wearable technology to treat man’s heart problem

A doctor in the US was able to determine the best way to treat a man who presented himself at hospital with a heart problem by reviewing data on his fitness tracker.

The 42-year-old visited Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey after having a seizure. Doctors found that his heart rate was ‘incredibly high and irregular’. Medical staff managed to get the man’s pulse back down to normal, but his irregular heartbeat remained.

In order to understand the man’s problem doctors needed to determine when the man started suffering from an irregular heartbeat. As the man was wearing a FitBit fitness tracker, the doctors decided to review the data.

Medical staff accessed the man’s smartphone and pulled heart rate data from the FitBit app. With this information, staff were able to determine exactly when the patient’s heart rate jumped. The man was then sent for cardioversion, resulting in his heart rate returning to normal. The device was also able to show that his pulse remained regular after treatment.

Dr Alfred Sacchetti, the case report’s author, said: “Using the patient's activity tracker - in this case, a Fitbit - we were able to pinpoint exactly when the patient's normal heart rate of 70 jumped up to 190.

“Not all activity trackers measure heart rates, but this is the function of most value to medical providers.”