A Texas man says his Apple Watch saved his life by detecting problems with his heartbeat

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A Texas man says his Apple Watch saved his life by detecting problems with his heartbeat

Apple Watch

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A Texas man says he found out he had a potentially fatal heart problem thanks to his Apple Watch.

"The watch dinged me ... I looked down and it said you are in atrial fibrillation," Ray Emerson, a 79-year-old veterinarian from Waco, Texas, told CBS Austin. "It told me I wasn't feeling as good as I thought I was."

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Emerson visited a doctor, who confirmed that he was experiencing atrial fibrillation, a condition characterized by irregular heartbeat that can increase the risk of strokes, blood clots, and heart failure.

He underwent surgery to correct the issue, and said he thinks he wouldn't have detected the problem without the notification from his Apple Watch.

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Emerson is one of many Apple Watch users who say their device alerted them to potentially life-threatening problems. Last year, a 46-year-old in Virginia was similarly warned of heart irregularities, and last month a New Jersey hiker's Apple Watch automatically called 911 after he fell off a cliff.

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Apple Watches with watchOS 5 or later are equipped with a Heart Rate app, which lets users check their heart rate and receive notifications when their heart rate exceeds a certain threshold.

Apple has touted the wearable device as a medical asset. During its annual launch event in September, Apple showed video testimony from users who said the Apple Watch helped notify them of health issues and alleviate medical conditions.

Jason Zagrodzky, a cardiac surgeon at St. David's Medical Center in Austin, told CBS Austin that he regularly treats patients who were alerted to heart problems by their Apple Watches.

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"I would say probably at least once or twice a week someone comes to me solely because their watch said, hey, you've got a serious problem," said Zagrodzky told the outlet.

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