How Apple Watch’s Blood Oxygen Sensor Saved a 16-Year-Old Skier’s Life

Apple Watch has been once again credited for saving a user’s life. Apple’s popular wearable has been reported several times in the past for detecting abnormalities in users’ health by using sensors that measure heart rate, ECG, and more. This time an Apple Watch has helped a 16-year-old skier in getting timely treatment by detecting low blood oxygen saturation in his body. The watch’s blood oxygen sensor can measure the oxygen level of the user’s blood while strapped on their wrist. However, Apple’s Blood Oxygen app is available on watchOS in only select countries.

In a CBS 8 report, Marcella Lee, an anchor on San Diego’s CBS 8 news channel, shared her frightening skiing experience in Colorado where her Apple Watch helped detect her son’s low blood oxygen level. Lee said that on Friday morning during their skiing trip, her 16-year-old son told her that he felt unwell and by night she noticed his lips as well as his fingertips were a bit blue. So, she put her Apple Watch on his wrist to measure his blood oxygen level, and after a few seconds, the watch showed 66 percent blood oxygen saturation.

Upon further research, Lee found out that in case of blood oxygen saturation of 88 percent or lower, immediate medical attention is needed and hence she took her son to the local ER. Surprisingly, the oxygen saturation level detected by her Apple Watch turned out to be almost accurate as the equipment there confirmed a 67 percent blood oxygen level. The doctors there said that with sustained oxygen of only 66 percent, her son could have gone into a coma. However, he was treated on time and is doing fine now.

Lee added that her son was diagnosed with High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which is not common for skiers. Nearly, one in 10,000 skiers in Colorado got affected by HAPE, as per the report.

Earlier in October 2022, an Apple Watch reportedly helped detect cancer in a 12-year-old girl in the US by sensing her heart rate and helping her get treatment in time. Apple Watch reportedly kept warning the user’s mother of an abnormally high heart rate in her daughter. Upon being taken to a hospital for an appendectomy, the doctors found a neuroendocrine tumor on her appendix.


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