Emerging technology allows patients to measure and record their heart rate (HR) remotely by photoplethysmography (PPG) using smart devices like smartphones. However, the validity and expected distribution of such measurements are unclear, making it difficult for physicians to help patients interpret real-world, remote and on-demand HR measurements. Our goal was to validate HR-PPG, measured using a smartphone app, against HR-electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements and describe out-of-clinic, real-world, HR-PPG values according to age, demographics, body mass index, physical activity level, and disease. To validate the measurements, we obtained simultaneous HR-PPG and HR-ECG in 50 consecutive patients at our cardiology clinic. We then used data from participants enrolled in the Health eHeart cohort between 1 April 2014 and 30 April 2018 to derive real-world norms of HR-PPG according to demographics and medical conditions. HR-PPG and HR-ECG were highly correlated (Intraclass correlation = 0.90). A total of 66,788 Health eHeart Study participants contributed 3,144,332 HR-PPG measurements. The mean real-world HR was 79.1 bpm ± 14.5. The 95th percentile of real-world HR was ≤110 in individuals aged 18-45, ≤100 in those aged 45-60 and ≤95 bpm in individuals older than 60 years old. In multivariable linear regression, the number of medical conditions, female gender, increasing body mass index, and being Hispanic was associated with an increased HR, whereas increasing age was associated with a reduced HR. Our study provides the largest real-world norms for remotely obtained, real-world HR according to various strata and they may help physicians interpret and engage with patients presenting such data.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Predictive markers.