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Chronobiol Int. 2019 Jul;36(7):927-933. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2019.1596947. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

Accuracy of PurePulse photoplethysmography technology of Fitbit Charge 2 for assessment of heart rate during sleep.

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a Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering , The University of Texas at Austin , Austin , Texas , USA.
b Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, McGovern School of Medicine , The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston , Houston , Texas , USA.


Elevated asleep heart rate (HR) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other-cause morbidity and mortality. We assessed the accuracy of Fitbit Inc. PurePulse® photoplethysmography with reference to three-lead electrocardiography (ECG) in determining HR during sleep. HR of 35 (17 female) healthy adults 25.1 ± 10.6 years of age (mean ± SD) was continuously recorded throughout a single night of sleep. There was no significant difference in asleep HR mean (0.09 beats per minute [bpm], P = 0.426) between Fitbit photoplethysmography and ECG; plus, there was excellent intraclass correlation (0.998) and narrow Bland-Altman agreement range (2.67 bpm). The regression analysis of Bland-Altman plot of mean asleep HR indicates Fitbit tends to slightly overestimate reference values in the lower range of HR (HR < 50 bpm) by 0.51 bpm and slightly underestimate reference values in the higher range of HR (HR > 80 bpm) by 0.63 bpm. Mixed model analysis of epoch-by-epoch (5-min epochs) asleep HR showed significant "U" shape trend (P < 0.001) in amount of Fitbit error (absolute amount of difference between ECG and Fitbit values regardless of overestimation or underestimation) in regard to HR, i.e. smaller error in the medium range of HR (60-80 bpm) and slightly larger error for lower (<60 bpm) and higher (>80 bpm) ranges of HR. However, effect of age, body mass index, gender, and subjective sleep quality measured by Pittsburgh sleep quality index (good/poor sleepers) on error in estimating HR by the Fitbit method was not significant. It is concluded that Fitbit photoplethysmography suitably tracks HR during sleep in healthy young adults.


Fitbit; Heart rate; electrocardiography; measurement; performance comparison; photoplethysmography; sleep; validation; wearable activity monitors

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