Could your smartwatch save your life? Alberta man says yes

Dennis Anselmo said his Apple Watch alerted him to symptoms of a heart attack in August 2015. Courtesy, Dennis Anselmo

EDMONTON – An Alberta contractor is making headlines around the world after his Apple Watch “100 per cent” saved his life while he was having a heart attack.

Last August, Dennis Anselmo, who lives in Morinville, was on the job in Edmonton building a fence with his co-worker when he suddenly felt unwell.

“I had hot and cold flashes at the same time and kind of a little jittery to the point where I just said to my helper, ‘I’ve got to sit down. I need to take five here,'” the 63-year-old recalled Thursday.

Anselmo went back to the work trailer to sit down and when he glanced down at his smartwatch, he was alarmed to see how high his heart rate was.

“My normal heart rate usually is around 49 to 55 and it was reading 210. At that time I said, ‘I gotta call 911.'”

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First responders arrived on scene within minutes but after several unsuccessful attempts to slow his heartbeat, Anselmo was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“At this point I still didn’t know if I was really having a heart attack or not, I actually had to ask and they said, ‘yes, definitely. You are having a heart attack.'”

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After Anselmo’s heartbeat was regulated, doctors performed an angiogram which found one of his lower arteries was 80 per cent blocked. Doctors put in a stent which alleviated the problem.

Six months later, Anselmo is on heart medication and feels great. However, doctors told him the outcome could have been much worse had he ignored his symptoms.

“They said most people with my symptoms probably would have gone home thinking they had the flu, as I did, and the second heart attack may have happened through the night,” he said.

“There was a good chance that if that happened, there could have been more permanent damage done to my heart and (the) possibility of even dying from it.”

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Anselmo said he was relieved the ordeal ended the way it did and absolutely credits his Apple Watch for alerting him to the warning signs.

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“If I didn’t have it the outcome may have been way different.”

Anselmo said his heart attack even made his wife come around on the purchase of the wearable technology, which she was not overly thrilled about to begin with.

“I know my wife wasn’t happy when I first bought the watch but she even had the comment that it paid for itself.”

Since sharing his experience with Apple, Anselmo’s story has been told around the world, in countries including Australia, Vietnam and the U.K.

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