Wristband Fitness Trackers Not Accurate in Reading Heart Rate

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The precision of a popular technological health product has come to light after a study showed it may not be as accurate as you think. Fitness trackers that resemble a watch are used by millions of people to count steps taken and monitor heart rate during exercise. A recent study on four of the most popular models indicates the fitness trackers should not be relied upon to keep track of a person’s heart rate due to inaccuracies in the readings.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute looked at the performance of the Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR, Mio Fuse, and Basis Peak compared to a chest monitor as people walked on a treadmill. While none of the models equaled the accuracy of the readings of the chest monitor, the Apple Watch and the Mio Fuse fared the best. The two other models showed less than an 85 percent accuracy to the chest monitor when people were engaged in moderate exercise, which the doctors considered, “suboptimal accuracy.”

The study showed that when a person is at rest, the heart rate measured by the fitness trackers are more on point with their readings. The discrepancies come when activity is increased and exercise becomes more vigorous. The devices either overestimate or underestimate the heart rate during this time. This can cause problems for cardiac patients who need to keep their heart rate within a certain range during exercise and rehabilitation.

The issue with the fitness trackers maybe with the way they detect and read a heart rate. LED light measures the blood flow going in and out of tissue, and a sensor uses that information to provide a current heart rate. When a person is moving, the LED light may not get a proper read. Differences in skin tone and lighting can cause inconsistent readings as well. Those who are overweight or have poor circulation due to a number of medical conditions may also have their heart rate numbers affected.

The makers of the Fitbit Charge HR deny the claims, stating that their product meets the industry standards for wristband heart rate monitors and that fitness trackers are not intended to be used as a medical device. A class-action lawsuit for fraud was filed against the company earlier this year. The Basis Peak is no longer on the market after a recall over the summer due to the defective product overheating and causing burns to the skin.

Heart health should always be taken seriously. Doctors maintain using a fitness tracker is not the way to diagnose a medical issue or rule something out such as a heart attack. It is the responsibility of doctors and cardiologists to conduct property testing to determine any problems with the heart. Unfortunately, they sometimes make errors which can lead to dangerous consequences. If you or someone you love has suffered due to cardiac malpractice, you need an attorney who understands what went wrong and what should have been done to prevent something serious. Don’t delay, contact the attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., today.