Emergency room doctors used a patient's FitBit to determine how to save his life


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This is an interesting case and the FitBit did contribute meaningfully to a clinical decision (whether the patient could safely be electrically cardioverted into normal sinus rhythm from atrial fibrillation). However, it’s inaccurate to say that the decision contributed to “saving his life”. Atrial fibrillation is not an acutely life-threatening rhythm, and in fact there isn’t even a well established long-term benefit to a strategy of cardioversion (rhythm control) as compared with taking pills to control heart rate. For example, see the AFFIRM trial in NEJM (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021328).


Right. Knowing that the a-fib started within the past 48-hours just gives the ED physician the option of shocking the patient’s rhythm back to normal without putting them on blood thinners for weeks, then cardioverting (shocking) them back to a normal rhythm.


Agree with both of the above. As a practicing neurologist, I’m in favor of anything that will give someone an edge with regard to decreasing odds of embolic stroke without having to go on months of anticoagulant therapy. This is a cool report.
I do hope, though, that the doctors advised the patient not to post data from every run on Facebook. in addition to being of little clinical value, that shit’s just annoying after a while.


They must have pawned it to pay for his aspirin.

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