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RR interval signal quality of a heart rate monitor and an ECG Holter at rest and during exercise

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This study was designed to examine the RR interval signal qualities of a Holter device and a heart rate chest belt monitor at rest and during exercise. Ten healthy individuals completed five low- to high-intensity activities while simultaneously using the medilog® AR12plus  Holter monitor and the Polar H10 heart rate monitor. The RR interval signal quality was based on the quantification of the missing RR intervals and RR interval detection errors. Therefore, both measurement systems were compared against visual inspection of the raw electrocardiography signal. The missing and wrong R-wave peak detections were counted manually for both measurement systems. RR interval signal quality was defined as the relative number of correctly detected RR intervals. Overall, RR interval signal qualities of 94.6% and 99.6% were demonstrated for the medilog® AR12plus  and the Polar H10. During the high-intensity activities, the RR interval signal quality of the medilog® AR12plus  dropped to 89.8%, whereas the Polar H10 maintained a signal quality of 99.4%. The correlation between both systems was high (r = 0.997, p > 0.001). The excellent RR interval signal quality during low- to moderate-intensity activities in the medilog® AR12plus  and during low- to high-intensity activities in the Polar H10 demonstrates both measurement systems’ validity for the detection of RR intervals throughout a wide range of activities. A simple chest strap such as the Polar H10 might be recommended as the gold standard for RR interval assessments if intense activities with strong body movements are investigated.

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Polar Electro Oy (Finland) funded in part the experiment described in this article.

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RGA and TW conceived and designed the research. RGA and TS conducted the experiments. RGA analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Rahel Gilgen-Ammann.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the cantonal ethics committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Communicated by Mark Olfert.

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Gilgen-Ammann, R., Schweizer, T. & Wyss, T. RR interval signal quality of a heart rate monitor and an ECG Holter at rest and during exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 119, 1525–1532 (2019).

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