Bicycle computer alerts man he’s having dangerous heart problem during ride

WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. -- A couple Saturdays ago while riding, Michael Kim started getting some weird readings from his Garmin bike computer, which monitors his ride and things such as his heart rate and other vital signs.

“I was going for a little bike ride to Rockwood Reservation,” Kim said.

He described the Garmin bike computer that gave him advance warning something was wrong.

“Distance, speed.  There are a lot of things it can calculate,” he said.

But that wasn’t the problem.

“It's telling me within minutes of beginning my ride, not even warmed up, that I'm already pushing 150 beats per minute, which is ...”

Too many.

At first he thought it was a computer glitch.  But as time went on Kim started to realize the monitor wasn't broken.  And he was becoming increasingly concerned that instead, he was broken.

“Yeah, definitely,” Kim said.  “Light-headed, feel it coming on very quickly.”

He showed the history on the bike computer.

“This is the highest it hit on that before I stopped -- 141 beats per minute.  And that was like in the first six minutes.  Six minutes into my ride, and I was like gosh ... with the light-headedness, I knew something was up.”

So Kim pulled over and got off his bike. And along came Ruben Aymerich, who just happens to be a doctor.

“Castlewood, or one of the parks,” said Aymerich, who is a gastroenterologist at SSM St. Claire in Fenton.  “We were going on a little bit of a hike.”

Aymerich could see Kim was in distress.

“When we got out of the car, he clearly was having a little bit of trouble talking, making coherent sentences.  Said he was having a little shortness of breath," Aymerich said.

So Aymerich called 911, Kim spent a few days at St. Clare Hospital for a procedure and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Oh, I was thankful he was there,” Kim said.  “I mean a lot of people just drive by.  It was great.  He was caring enough to roll down the window and say, 'How are you doing?'  It was my chance to say, 'Not so good.'”

Kim said his doctors tell him he had a ventricular tachycardia, or rapid heartbeat that starts in the lower chambers of the heart.

Doctors installed a defibrillator.  Kim was in the hospital for three or four days and back to work the day after he was released.