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Queens Boy's Apple Watch Credited With Discovering Serious Heart Problem, Saving His Life

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A young Queens boy pestered his parents for an Apple watch until they finally gave in.

It's a good thing they did. It turns out the watch's heart rate function probably saved the boy's life.

"I always wanted the watch because I thought it was like cool to have," 12-year-old Lucas Russo said.

Almost right away it looked like it was malfunctioning.

Lucas Russo's Apple Watch (Credit: CBS2)

"He was like 'ma, it is giving me alerts that you have a high heart rate' and I was like what?" the boy's mother, Bridget Russo said.

"We put it on me and my husband and everything was fine. It was even, below 80's and 90's, and everyone's wasn't going up as high his was going up."

Lucas's heart rate wasn't just fast, it was almost off the charts. His heart was going almost 100 beats faster than today – 200 beats per minute.

"I always felt like my heart was pounding and I thought it was normal," the 12-year-old said.

Lucas Russo (Credit: CBS2)

A series of EKG's, heart monitors, and echocardiograms revealed that Lucas's heart was already enlarged.

"The heart needs to relax and when it's pumping really fast, it doesn't get time to relax and over time, it starts to compensate by dilating," Dr. Reina Tan said.

"What could have happened was that, if this was left undetected, over time are muscles would get weaker and weaker and eventually fail. He would have been in heart failure at that point."

Dr. Tan, a pediatric heart rhythm specialist at NYU Langone Health, performed a small ablation to begin to correct Lucas' heart abnormality and then placed him on medications.

"We've done serial studies that showed gradual improvement in heart function. It's pumping well, it's normal in size, it's looking like a normal heart," the doctor said.

"If I didn't look at it, I probably would have had a heart attack on the field and it saved my life," Lucas said.

Russo will probably need another procedure to get rid of the abnormal heart tissue that's driving his rapid heart rate, but that's done through a catheter from his leg up to his heart.


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