Accuracy of smartphone application to monitor heart rate.

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Accuracy of smartphone application to monitor heart rate.

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2019 Aug;59(8):1281-1284

Authors: Yakel JP, Meacham KJ, Glave AP, Didier JJ, Williams ML, Waters C, Cole M, Feren E

BACKGROUND: The use of smartphone applications to monitor heart rate has become increasingly popular. However, there is limited research available on the validity of these applications. The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of a free heart rate monitoring application on two smartphone platforms while at rest and during moderate intensity exercise. One heart rate monitor application was chosen for two different technological platforms.
METHODS: Twenty-four adults aged 18 and older (six males, 18 females) were randomly assigned a platform. Two groups were formed based on the platform being utilized. Both groups were monitored using an electrocardiograph (ECG) and the smart phone application. Heart rate for each participant was recorded while seated before exercise, and during moderate intensity exercise on an elliptical machine. Measurements were recorded in one-minute intervals.
RESULTS: Data was analyzed using correlations and t-tests between platforms. All data was analyzed for both resting and exercise heart rate averages. There was no significant difference in heart rate while seated, t-test (-1.33; P=0.197) nor exercise heart rate, t-test (-1.54; P=0.142) when comparing means of the two platforms to an ECG.
CONCLUSIONS: The applications chosen for both platforms to monitor heart rate were found to be fairly accurate, especially at rest. There are small user adaptations for monitoring heart rate, but heart rate applications provide a low-cost and efficient method for non-medical heart rate tracking. Future research should investigate the difference in accuracy for skin tone, ethnicity, race, hand size, and callosity of fingertips.

PMID: 31373188 [PubMed – in process]