A Fitbit fitness tracker helped save a Harwinton woman’s life.
Patricia Lauder, 73, of Harwinton had just retired and bought a Fitbit to track her steps in the hopes that she would lose weight and improve her health by walking, according to UConn Health.
Not only did the device on her wrist track her steps, but it also indicated something was wrong, which allowed Lauder to quickly seek medical help and get treatment for blood clots.
“I wasn’t feeling well for a few weeks, and thought I might be battling a bad cold or walking pneumonia that I just couldn’t kick,” Lauder said, according to UConn.
She visited doctors and had tests and X-rays, but they were negative for pneumonia or any other health issues.
Lauder then began experiencing shortness of breath and she’d get tired while walking just short distances, then she noticed that her Fitbit was recording increases in her resting heart rate --- five points a day -- eventually increasing from 68 to 140 beats per minute.
“I was going downhill fast,” she said. “I knew I was in trouble, and dialed 911.”
Lauder asked the ambulance to take her to UConn Health and she was taken to the emergency department at UConn John Dempsey Hospital, where a CT scan revealed she had two large blood clots in her lung arteries, according to UConn Health.
“If I didn’t have a Fitbit on my wrist, I would never have known that my heart rate was getting dangerously high,” Lauder said. “And I might not be here to tell my story.”
Lauder's heart was overworking and had become enlarged. According to UConn, Dr. JuYong Lee applied clot-busting drugs directly into the lungs’ blood clots through a catheter.
The very next day, Lauder’s blood clots were gone and her lung and heart health normalized.
“I have never seen such a dramatic improvement overnight,” Dr. Lee said, according to UConn.
See the American Heart Association website for information on prevention and treatment of excessive blood clotting.