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Measure by measure: Resting heart rate across the 24-hour cycle.

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Arneil, Thomas 
Harle, Robert 
Wilson, Alex 
Karthikesalingam, Alan 


BACKGROUND: Photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors, typically found in wrist-worn devices, can continuously monitor heart rate (HR) in large populations in real-world settings. Resting heart rate (RHR) is an important biomarker of morbidities and mortality, but no universally accepted definition nor measurement criteria exist. In this study, we provide a working definition of RHR and describe a method for accurate measurement of this biomarker, recorded using PPG derived from wristband measurement across the 24-hour cycle. METHODS: 433 healthy subjects wore a wrist device that measured activity and HR for up to 3 months. HR during inactivity was recorded and the duration of inactivity needed for HR to stabilise was ascertained. We identified the lowest HR during each 24-hour cycle (true RHR) and examined the time of day or night this occurred. The variation of HR during inactivity through the 24-hour cycle was also assessed. The sample was also subdivided according to daily activity levels for subset analysis. FINDINGS: Adequate data was obtained for 19,242 days and 18,520 nights. HR stabilised in most subjects after 4 minutes of inactivity. Mean (SD) RHR for the sample was 54.5 (8.0) bpm (day) and 50.5 (7.6) bpm (night). RHR values were highest in the least active group (lowest MET quartile). A circadian variation of HR during inactivity was confirmed, with the lowest values being between 0300 and 0700 hours for most subjects. INTERPRETATION: RHR measured using a PPG-based wrist-worn device is significantly lower at night than in the day, and a circadian rhythm of HR during inactivity was confirmed. Since RHR is such an important health metric, clarity on the definition and measurement methodology used is important. For most subjects, a minimum rest time of 4 minutes provides a reliable measurement of HR during inactivity and true RHR in a 24-hour cycle is best measured between 0300 and 0700 hours. Funding: This study was funded by Google.


Funder: Google


4206 Public Health, 42 Health Sciences, Clinical Research, Cardiovascular, 3 Good Health and Well Being

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PLOS Digit Health

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)