Heart rate detection by Fitbit ChargeHR : A validation study versus portable polysomnography

J Sleep Res. 2021 Dec;30(6):e13346. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13346. Epub 2021 Apr 10.


Consumer "Smartbands" can collect physiological parameters, such as heart rate (HR), continuously across the sleep-wake cycle. Nevertheless, the quality of HR data detected by such devices and their place in the research and clinical field is debatable, as they are rarely rigorously validated. The objective of the present study was to investigate the reliability of pulse photoplethysmographic detection by the Fitbit ChargeHR (FBCHR, Fitbit Inc.) in a natural setting of continuous recording across vigilance states. To fulfil this aim, concurrent portable polysomnographic (pPSG) and the Fitbit's photoplethysmographic data were collected from a group of 25 healthy young adults, for ≥12 hr. The pPSG-derived HR was automatically computed and visually verified for each 1-min epoch, while the FBCHR HR measurements were downloaded from the application programming interface provided by the manufacturer. The FBCHR was generally accurate in estimating the HR, with a mean (SD) difference of -0.66 (0.04) beats/min (bpm) versus the pPSG-derived HR reference, and an overall Pearson's correlation coefficient (r) of 0.93 (average per participant r = 0.85 ± 0.11), regardless of vigilance state. The correlation coefficients were larger during all sleep phases (rapid eye movement, r = 0.9662; N1, r = 0.9918; N2, r = 0.9793; N3, r = 0.9849) than in wakefulness (r = 0.8432). Moreover, the correlation coefficient was lower for HRs of >100 bpm (r = 0.374) than for HRs of <100 bpm (r = 0.84). Consistently, Bland-Altman analysis supports the overall higher accuracy in the detection of HR during sleep. The relatively high accuracy of FBCHR pulse rate detection during sleep makes this device suitable for sleep-related research applications in healthy participants, under free-living conditions.

Keywords: electrocardiography; photoplethysmography; wearables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fitness Trackers*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sleep*
  • Young Adult