Body

How a Fitbit can save your life

The device saved this young mum from a serious heart condition, and it could very well do the same for you.

By Katie Skelly
A Fitbit’s odd pulse reading, which could have easily been dismissed as a technical glitch, has potentially saved the life of a young mother.
Felicity McQueen was going about her day, tending to some paperwork when she noticed her heart rate to be that of 150 beats per minute according to her fitness tracker – on a few occasions, she reached a whopping 200bpm .
When the reading – a generous 50-100 over the normal rate – didn’t slow for the remainder of the day, the 34-year-old began to feel unsettled. With fear acting as motivation, the WA mum and her Partner Darryn headed to the doctor.
Here, she was discovered to have atrial fibrillation, a condition the Heart Foundation describes as an abnormal rhythm that starts in the upper chambers of the heart, causing them to quiver or fibrillate.
With a stroke or heart attack a high possibility, Felicity was booked in for a Catheter Ablation surgery, which saw a small area of tissue responsible for causing the irregular pulse burnt and destroyed by an electrode.
The next day, she saw a “huge difference”.
“It was quite unsettling, because it felt very thumpy," Felicity told The Daily Mail. "I'm more used to it being rapid and fluttering.”
Felicity's partner Darryn gifted his wife the fitness tracker, unaware of how it would soon change their lives.
Symptoms had plagued the WA mother since her teenage years, where it’s hypothesized the Glandular Fever virus first triggered her often debilitating heart condition.
What was thought to be asthma left her breathless, chest pains had her undergoing breast cancer screenings and going out with friends would leave her bedridden from exhaustion.
While she still has a way to go – she’ll be fitted with a pacemaker should her next surgery fail to correct her heart rate – Felicity and her family are happy to finally know the underlying cause behind years of ongoing illness.
The family have established a GoFundMe page in the hopes to raise money to pay for previous and upcoming procedures and treatments.
We wish Felicity the best on her road to recovery, all of which may never have be possible without the help of her Fitbit.