September 02, 2019

How a Smartwatch Saved the Life of Its 13-Year-Old Owner

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When Austin Hardison, a 13-year-old teen from Arizona, got his smartwatch as a Christmas present, he didn’t expect it would lead to the discovery of heart disease.

In an interview that the teen and his mother, Lynsey Hardison, had with ABC 15, Austin revealed that he was sitting on the couch when he started feeling “light-headed.”

Austin Hardison talking about his experience | Source: YouTube/ABC15 Arizona


His smartwatch picked up an irregularity

Knowing that his smartwatch had an app that could monitor his heart rate, he checked it and realized it was at 219 beats per minute.

According to Mayo Clinic, the average resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. It can go higher and still be healthy, though, but only if the person is doing challenging physical activity that makes the heart pump blood faster.

Austin Hardison manipulating his smartwatch | Source: YouTube/ABC15 Arizona


Doctors found out a heart problem

In Austin’s case, he was just sitting on the couch, so there was no apparent reason for his heart rate to be at almost 220 bpm. Lynsey admitted that she thought it was an anxiety attack as school was about to start.

Thankfully, she took him to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where doctors learned that he had a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW). Lynsey added that he was born with it, but nobody noticed it.


As Medline Plus reported, WPW Syndrome is "a condition in which there is an extra electrical pathway in the heart. The condition can lead to periods of rapid heart rate (tachycardia)."

Judging by the interview, Austin is healthy now, just like Riley Dibble, a one-year-old boy who survived three cardiac arrests and an emergency heart operation.


Riley Dibble’s case

The health of the boy was always frail and had to undergo different surgeries to get better. Unfortunately, when he was six months old, doctors had to perform a very risky procedure, giving him only a two-percent chance of surviving.

Miraculously, after spending 12 hours in the operating room and suffering a stroke during the procedure, Riley survived. Doctors said that even though the stroke left areas of his brain undeveloped, they hope it could repair itself over time.