A newly retired woman from Harwinton was looking for ways to get fit, so she got herself a Fitbit fitness device to help her track her daily steps and guide her toward her desired weight loss and health goals.

Little did 73-year-old Patricia Lauder know that her Fitbit would actually do more than keep her fit: it will also save her life.

Lifesaving Device

Lauder recalled that for a number of weeks, she had not been feeling well.

“[I] thought I might be battling a bad cold or walking pneumonia that I just couldn’t kick,” she said in a UConn Today report, adding that medical tests, X-rays, and other lab work actually came back negative for any health concern.

She then began to felt fatigue as well as shortness of breath, where walking short distances proved to be a chore. Her Fitbit was also telling her an unusual story: her usual resting heart rate of 68 to 70 beats per minute increased by the day by five points. One day it just climbed to 140 bpm, she recalled.

That was when Lauder phoned 911 and asked the ambulance to take her to UConn Health. At the emergency department, a CT scan revealed two large blood clots in her lung arteries.

Called pulmonary embolisms, the clots were stressing her heart and lungs, as her lung artery pressure shot to 65 from the normal 25 and her heart was enlarged due to being overworked.

Pulmonary Embolisms

According to Dr. JuYong Lee, who applied clot-busting medications directly into the clots via a catheter, the mortality rate of pulmonary embolisms is over 30 percent once it becomes massive. The clots can over-pressurize one’s heart and lead one’s blood pressure and oxygen level to significantly drop.

Its largest risk factor: deep vein thrombosis, where a blood clot forms in a vein (often in one’s leg) and potentially travels up to the lungs.

Lauder’s procedure was fortunately a minimally invasive one, and within a 24-hour post-operation, the clots disappeared and her heart and lung function resumed to normal.

“I had the procedure on Friday, removed the catheter on Saturday and was home Monday evening,” the patient shared.

Lauder credited her Fitbit for its life-saving role in this frightening event, saying she has no way of knowing her heart rate was getting riskily high if she didn’t have the device on her wrist. The doctor echoed her thoughts, calling the condition very critical and potentially leading to death without prompt medical attention.

Newest Fitbit In Town

In early March, Tech Times reported that Fitbit has launched a new product called Fitbit Alta HR, an update to the previous Alta and touted to be the slimmest wrist-based device in the world and with a full-time heart rate sensor to boot.

The renowned wearable gadget company made the watch thinner through reducing the chip’s size as well as the number of components. The smart watch is designed to be a quarter slimmer than the Fitbit Charge 2.

Its innovation is a continuous, on-the-go heart rate tracking feature paired with PurePulse heart rate technology, which offers daylong heart tracking for important related health information.

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