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Apple Watch alerts Munson chief medical officer of heart emergency

As we come to the end of National Heart Month, caregivers at Munson Healthcare stress the importance of paying attention to your cardiovascular health.

They recommend keeping an eye on warning signs you might otherwise ignore.

Just like in the case of Munson’s chief medical officer whose life was saved last November after a heart health emergency.


“I didn’t have any symptoms, and I didn’t really feel any different than I had any other day,” said Munson Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Walter Noble, M.D.

It was a normal day for Dr. Noble, sitting in a virtual meeting, when he got an alert on his Apple Watch that caught his attention.

“I thought perhaps the watch was wrong. But then I didn’t check my pulse and it was quite slow,” said Dr. Noble. “Normally, I would probably have a pulse rate of 70 to 80 per minute, went up and around and this was below 40.”

A consultation with his fellow doctors lead to Dr. Noble becoming a patient at his own hospital.


“I walked downstairs where one of my colleagues, Dr. Burgess, was there, and just to get his quick opinion,” Dr. Noble said. “He and I decided we should go to the emergency room.”

One of the emergency room physicians confirmed Dr. Noble’s slow pulse rate, and did an electrocardiogram.

“This revealed a blockage in the conduction, and that’s why I had this slow heart rate,” he said.

Now, Dr. Noble is back to work, and says he’s feeling better than ever. It’s something he attributes to everyone in the Munson Cardiac Unit, and his new pacemaker.


“The pacemaker is pretty advanced these days compared to what they were when I started in medicine many years ago,” Dr. Noble said. “This pacemaker will sense what my heart rate is and when it needs to hasten to increase the rate. It also will communicate back with the company and with our cardiac device clinic to let them know if there’s any arrhythmias or a change in the heart rhythm that should be concerning.”

And with all the technology used in his pacemaker, he’ll never forget that one piece of tech that saved his life: the Apple Watch he still wears today.

“I’ll probably keep that one on, you know, even when it doesn’t functioning well,” said Dr. Noble. “I’ll keep this one as a memento of that alarm.”

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