News / Edmonton

Alberta man says smartwatch saved his life during heart attack

Dennis Anselmo thought he was coming down with the flu, but the pulse tracker on his Apple Watch said he was having a heart attack.

Contractor Dennis Anselmo shows off the smart watch that he says saved his life.


Contractor Dennis Anselmo shows off the smart watch that he says saved his life.

Dennis Anselmo says his Apple Watch saved his life.

The 62-year-old contractor was building a fence in Edmonton last year when he started to feel sick.

“I was hot and cold and kind of shaky, I figured I was coming down with the flu,” he said. He says he then told his helper he had to take a break and sit down.

Out of curiosity, Anselmo checked his pulse on the Apple Watch he’d bought only two weeks earlier.

To his surprise, he saw his heart was beating at 210 beats per minute (for context, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100).

“That told me it was time to call an ambulance,” he said, on the phone from his home in Morinville.

Not only had Anselmo suffered a heart attack, but one of the arteries in his heart was almost totally clogged. At the hospital, doctors told him that if he hadn’t gotten treatment right away he would have likely suffered a second, fatal attack within hours of the first.  

He hadn’t bought the watch for its life-saving potential.

Anselmo already owned more than 30 high-end watches, but says he was attracted to the Apple Watch’s ability to receive messages while working without getting out his phone.

But soon after getting it, he started playing around with other features, including— luckily —the pulse tracker.

Now, those other fancy watches have been benched.

“My wife jokes that if you open the closet you can hear them screaming to be let out of the safe,” he said. “This watch is on my wrist from morning to night.”  

His story is currently making headlines around the world. He mentioned it to an Apple Store employee recently and word soon spread.

He says people keep asking if Apple has done anything for him for sharing his story (they haven’t) but while he says that would be nice, he’s got a different goal in mind.

“The big thing for me is if one other person reads this and gets a smartwatch that had this feature because it had the potential to save their life, then I would feel pretty good.”

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