Heart Rhythm Society

Heart Rhythm Society

May 09, 2018
1 min read

Smartwatches accurately detect rapid heart rate

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Jogman Hwang, MD
Jongmin Hwang

BOSTON — Among patients with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, three wrist-worn devices measured heart rate accurately at rest and when the rate was accelerated, according to findings presented at the Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions.

The researchers analyzed 51 consecutive patients (mean age, 44 years; 53% men) with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia or paroxysmal palpitations who were randomly assigned to wear two of three devices designed to assess heart rate via photoplethysmography: the Apple Watch Series 2 (Apple), the Samsung Galaxy Gear 3 (Samsung) and the Fitbit Charge 2 (Fitbit).

“Millions of people around the world are wearing smartwatches or other devices that have the ability to track heart rate, and our study is the first of its kind to assess how effective and accurate these tools are for patients,” Jongmin Hwang, MD, from Seoul Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea, said in a press release.

Each participant underwent an electrophysiology study in which heart rate was measured at baseline and during induced paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

Induced paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardias included atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (45%), atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (45%), atrial tachycardia (6%) and typical atrial flutter (2%).

Accuracy within 5 bpm of baseline heart rate measurement was 100% for the Apple and Samsung devices and 94% for the Fitbit device, Hwang and colleagues found.

During induced paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, heart rates ranged from 108 bpm to 228 bpm. The rates of accuracy within 10 bpm during this time were 100% for the Apple and Samsung devices and 88% for the Fitbit device, according to the researchers.

There were no statistically significant differences in performance between the devices, and the results did not vary by age, sex or rate or type of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

“As clinicians, we see these devices as a tool to help patients learn more about their heart health and become more proactive about self-care,” Hwang said in the release. “With technology delivering information literally to their fingertips, we hope patients will be better informed and more inclined to speak with their doctor about their health.” – by Erik Swain


Hwang J, et al. Abstract B-AB26-03. Presented at: Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions; May 9-12, 2018; Boston.

Disclosure: Hwang reports no relevant financial disclosures.