Apple Watch Alerts Woman Something Is Wrong With Heart, Doctors Find Tumor

Kim Durkee began to wear an Apple Watch about two years ago to monitor her steps and, also, to make sure the authorities were alerted if she fell.

However, what she never planned was for it to detect the first signs of a life-threatening condition that required open-heart surgery to prevent a stroke.

Apple Watch Alerts Woman Something Is Wrong With Heart, Doctors Find Tumor

apple watch alerts woman something is wrong with heart, doctors find tumor
Image via Kim Durkee

“I didn’t have one single hint that there was something wrong in my body, not one,” Durkee, 67, who lives in Solon, Maine, told TODAY.

“Doctors said I was like a silent time bomb.”

She had no idea until her Apple Watch suddenly started buzzing on her wrist in the middle of the night in late May. Durkee, who wore the gadget when she slept, woke up to a message warning her that she appeared to have an irregular heart rhythm that suggested atrial fibrillation.

Also known as AFib, the condition happens when the upper chambers of the heart aren’t coordinated with the lower chambers, causing the heart to beat too slowly, too quickly or irregularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure, the American Heart Association warned. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib, it noted.

apple watch alerts woman something is wrong with heart, doctors find tumor
Image via Shutterstock

Initially, Durkee believed the alerts were a fluke. She shared how she did not feel her heart racing or doing anything strange, and she was breathing fine. However, when the same alert kept waking her up three nights in a row, with five separate messages from midnight to 4 a.m. on the third night alone, she decided to get medical help.

So on June 3, Durkee went to the emergency room of her local hospital and explained to the doctor on duty that her smartwatch told her to get checked out.

“And he looked at me, like, ‘Really, your watch told you you have AFib?’ Everybody in the hospital was amazed. I was like the talk of the hospital,” she recalled.

“He did some tests and he said, ‘Your watch is right, you’re in AFib.’”

apple watch alerts woman something is wrong with heart, doctors find tumor
Image via Shutterstock

RELATED: 7 Years Later Shannen Doherty Is Still Battling Cancer

However, that was just the beginning. When doctors ran tests, they found some odd readings and performed an echocardiogram, a test that uses ultrasound technology to create images of the heart.

They went on to discover that Durkee had a tumor growing in her heart. The diagnosis was myxoma, a non-cancerous growth in her left atrium. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, chest pain, and dizziness. It’s not clear what causes most of these tumors, but they’re exceedingly rare, with less than 0.02% of people affected, studies have found.

That being said, a cardiac myxoma is the most common primary heart tumor in adults and can be life-threatening if it interferes with heart function, per the Cleveland Clinic.

RELATED: 30 Inspiring Celebrities Who Have Battled Cancer and Won

Which was exactly what was happening in Durkee’s case, she said. The tumor was in the way of her heart’s normal rhythm, disrupting the regular contraction-relaxation cycle and causing an arrhythmia. She required surgery at a Boston hospital to remove the tumor.

And when Durkee asked her surgeon what would have happened if she didn’t get the smartwatch alert and didn’t get checked out, since she had no symptoms, “he said, ‘You probably would have had a massive stroke and died,’” she recalled.

The five-hour open-heart surgery took place on June 27. And now, one month later, Durkee is recovering well and wearing her smartwatch 24/7.

“I believe it (saved my life) 100%,” she noted. “It never comes off. … It’s like my security guard.”

About Mamas Uncut

Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.

.