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Current and Potential Applications of Wearables in Sports Cardiology


Purpose of the review

Commercial wearable biosensors are commonly used among athletes and highly active individuals, although their value in sports cardiology is not well established. In this review, we discuss the evidence for the current applications of wearables and provide our outlook for promising future directions of this emerging field.

Recent findings

The integration of routine assessment of physiological parameters, activity data, and features such as electrocardiogram recording has generated excitement over a role for wearables to help diagnose and monitor cardiovascular disease. Presently, however, there are significant challenges limiting their routine clinical use. While studies suggest that wearable-derived data may help guide training, evidence for the use of wearables in guiding exercise regimens for individuals with cardiovascular disease is lacking. Further, there is a paucity of data to demonstrate its efficacy in detecting exercise-related arrhythmias or conditions associated with sudden cardiac death. Nevertheless, future technological developments may lead to a greater potential for wearables to aid in sports cardiology practice.


The ability to collect vast amounts of physiological information can help athletes personalize training regimens. However, interpretation of these data and separating the signal from the noise are paramount, especially when used in a clinical setting. While there are currently no standardized approaches for the use of wearable-derived data in sports cardiology, we outline three domains in which they could guide the care of athletes in the future: (1) optimizing athletic performance (2) guiding exercise in athletes with known cardiovascular disease, and (3) screening for cardiovascular disease.

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J.J.H. is supported by a career development grant from the NIH (1K08HL151961-01).

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Correspondence to Jeffrey J. Hsu MD, PhD.

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Prashant Rao declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dhruv R. Seshadri declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jeffrey J. Hsu declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Rao, P., Seshadri, D.R. & Hsu, J.J. Current and Potential Applications of Wearables in Sports Cardiology. Curr Treat Options Cardio Med 23, 65 (2021).

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  • Wearables
  • Sports cardiology
  • Athlete
  • Cardiovascular performance
  • Recovery