Teen's Life Saved by Apple Watch That Alerted Her Heart Condition
Deanna Recktenwald, 18, was at church on April 22 when she got a notification from her Apple Watch that her resting heart rate had shot to between 120 and 130 beats per minute, well above the normal rate of between 60 to 100 beats.
A Florida teen has credited her Apple Watch with helping her catch a life-threatening condition that she and her family believe would have otherwise gone undetected.
Deanna Recktenwald, 18, was at church on April 22 when she got a notification from her Apple Watch that her resting heart rate had shot up to between 120 and 130 beats per minute, well above the normal rate of between 60 to 100 beats.
"It was really out of the blue," Deanna said.
Though Deanna initially chalked up her shortness of breath to being out of shape after shifting from intensive gymnastics practice to less intensive cheerleading, it became hard to ignore when her watch said her heart rate had reached 190.
"It said to seek medical attention," Stacey Lopez-Recktenwald, Deanna’s mother, told InsideEdition.com.
"When I showed her, she kind of looked a little confused,” Deanna said. “So she checked my pulse with her fingers and it was spot on every time she checked."
Lopez-Recktenwald, a registered nurse, rushed Deanna to an urgent care facility, where they were told to go to Tampa General Hospital, where Deanna had her blood drawn and underwent a series of tests.
“They said they were going to admit her and I thought it was odd, because her heart rate was coming down,” Lopez-Recktenwald said.
Deanna’s EKG came back normal, but it appeared her heart rate monitor helped catch a serious condition from which she was unaware she was suffering.
"The blood work came back showing my kidneys were failing," Deanna told InsideEdition.com. “It was a complete shock, but I was in kidney and liver failure four years ago, but that was due to an infection that spread to my whole body.”
It appeared Deanna was suffering from Alport system, a genetic condition that is characterized by progressive loss of kidney function.
"The prognosis isn’t good — she’s going to need a kidney transplant in two to three years,” her mother said. “She’s a fit kid, she’s healthy and athletic, so it’s about managing her kidneys right now and addressing that once it gets worse."
Deanna has since gone home and is adjusting to life after her diagnosis.
“When we left the hospital, I was completely fine,” Deanna said. “Everything went back to normal. My levels were good, everything was functioning great.
After returning home, Lopez-Recktenwald made sure to express her gratitude to Apple for designing what turned out to be a life-saving product.
"I thought this watch was a fitness device, but it turned out to be a medical device," she said. "I know that that watch saved her. To think she could’ve gone away to college in August and this happen... my kid could've been one of these kids that parents get the call about – 'Oh, your child has died and no one knows why.' I truly was so grateful to Apple."
Lopez-Recktenwald called her local Apple store asking to whom she could send her note of gratitude and was instructed to email the manager.
A few days later, she received an email from Apple CEO Tim Cook himself.
"He emailed me back saying he was grateful Deanna was OK and said, 'I'm glad; this is why we do what we do,'" Lopez-Recktenwald said. "I didn’t expect it."
Cook tweeted about Deanna as well, writing: "Stories like Deanna’s inspire us to dream bigger and push harder every day."
Deanna plans to start college in the fall and become a nurse practitioner.
"She’s always wanted to help people, but I think this really sealed the deal," her mother said.
Deanna agreed, saying: "I can't wait to live out my life that I’m supposed to and just reach people that need to be reached, because this story is not meant to be just for me. [It’s] for anybody else out there who doesn't know that something wrong is going on in their body and could possibly save their life.”
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