Accuracy of a Smartwatch to Assess Heart Rate Monitoring and Atrial Fibrillation in Stroke Patients

Sensors (Basel). 2023 May 10;23(10):4632. doi: 10.3390/s23104632.


(1) Background: Consumer smartwatches may be a helpful tool to screen for atrial fibrillation (AF). However, validation studies on older stroke patients remain scarce. The aim of this pilot study from RCT NCT05565781 was to validate the resting heart rate (HR) measurement and the irregular rhythm notification (IRN) feature in stroke patients in sinus rhythm (SR) and AF. (2) Methods: Resting clinical HR measurements (every 5 min) were assessed using continuous bedside ECG monitoring (CEM) and the Fitbit Charge 5 (FC5). IRNs were gathered after at least 4 h of CEM. Lin's concordance correlation coefficient (CCC), Bland-Altman analysis, and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) were used for agreement and accuracy assessment. (3) Results: In all, 526 individual pairs of measurements were obtained from 70 stroke patients-age 79.4 years (SD ± 10.2), 63% females, BMI 26.3 (IQ 22.2-30.5), and NIHSS score 8 (IQR 1.5-20). The agreement between the FC5 and CEM was good (CCC 0.791) when evaluating paired HR measurements in SR. Meanwhile, the FC5 provided weak agreement (CCC 0.211) and low accuracy (MAPE 16.48%) when compared to CEM recordings in AF. Regarding the accuracy of the IRN feature, analysis found a low sensitivity (34%) and high specificity (100%) for detecting AF. (4) Conclusion: The FC5 was accurate at assessing the HR during SR, but the accuracy during AF was poor. In contrast, the IRN feature was acceptable for guiding decisions regarding AF screening in stroke patients.

Keywords: accuracy; atrial fibrillation; screening; smartwatch; stroke; wearable.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate Determination
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Stroke* / diagnosis