Implementing Wearable Sensors for Continuous Assessment of Daytime Heart Rate Response in Inpatient Rehabilitation.

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Publication Title

Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association


cardiology; rehabilitation; sensor technology; technology; telehealth; telemedicine


BACKGROUND: It is unclear whether wearable heart rate (HR) sensors can be worn continuously in inpatient rehabilitation to assess cardiorespiratory training response. If feasible, these sensors offer a low-cost low-maintenance method for assessing HR response in this setting. We determined feasibility of wearable sensors for assessing HR response to daytime therapy activities in inpatient rehabilitation within a cardiorespiratory training zone equal to 55-80% of maximal HR (target HR [THR]) for at least two 10-min bouts, 3-5 days per week. Secondarily, we determined episodes of excessive HR (EHR >80% of maximal HR).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subjects 44-80 years of age with diagnoses of stroke, cardiac disorders, orthopedic disorders, medically complex conditions, or pulmonary disorders wore wrist-mounted HR sensors day and night throughout inpatient rehabilitation. The proportion of subjects meeting THR thresholds and experiencing EHR episodes was quantified. Multiple regression predicted THR and EHR outcomes from age, sex, length of stay, and motor function at admission and discharge.

RESULTS: Across subjects, 97,800 min of HR data were analyzed. Sixty percent of subjects met THR thresholds for cardiorespiratory benefit. Age was the single significant predictor of percent of days meeting the THR threshold (R = 0.58, p = 0.024). Forty-seven percent of subjects experienced EHR episodes on at least 1 day. No subjects experienced sensor-related adverse events, and no protocol deviations occurred from inadvertent sensor removal.

CONCLUSIONS: Most subjects experienced HR increases sufficient to obtain cardiorespiratory benefit. Likewise, most subjects had episodes of EHR. Wearable sensors were feasible for continuously assessing HR response, suggesting expanded opportunity in inpatient rehabilitation research and treatment.

Clinical Institute

Cardiovascular (Heart)