Heart Rate Part 5: Other systems

It's very discouraging...

Since there seem to be no readily available/reasonably priced heart monitor devices capable of tracking one’s heart rate TREND over a 60-minute period, (besides the FitBit which is not properly programmed to do so and does not meet medical standards) are there other devices/approaches that can allow me to do this?

Two ($$) items were mentioned (in Heart Rate Part 3: Trending): the “Novocor” and “Holter” monitor. I tried looking each up and didn’t quite get as much information as I would like.

Does each provide a graph of one’s heart rate over time (at least one user-specified hour each day)?

Can each be rented and approx. for how much?

Are both available in the USA?

Do both meet medical standards (apparently the Fitbit doesn’t)?


31 Replies

  • Omron do a HeartScan HCG-801 Monitor, but is it reasonably priced? I think it only does a 30 second analysis - and beware: the software to print out what it records is expensive. It's a very useful gadget, intended, I think, for health professionals but occasionally you can get a 'Please show this to your doctor' message, so it is also for patient use.

  • Try looking at the Garmin range. All devices use a chest strap and the data can be uploaded onto Garmin Connect and viewed graphically and analysed. I use a Forerunner 610 which I bought on eBay and this is accurate and reliable.

  • What did you cross check it against?

  • It is state of the art HR monitoring technology used by all pro athletes and as a HR monitor accurate to +/- 1%. It is not an ECG!

  • Is it accurate for someone actually in AF?

  • Yes

  • Yes I think it is fine, but not quite as accurate as an ecg recording. I think it's about 95% accurate, whereas as pulse oximeter will only be about 80 in af. An ecg is the gold standard

  • You should be able to get this done through any hospital, although doubtless you will have to pay the cost of it. Your cardiologist could arrange it for you, but it is not standard practice. The details of the report can probably be customised for whatever you wish. If you contact Novacor they can inform you of the options.

  • Holter monitors run all the time and need expert analysis at the end of the trial period. Some types have event buttons which can be used to "mark" any events a patient feels. These are not toys but proper ecg recording machines used by hospitals. If your doctors felt that you needed a holter test then you would be supplied with a machine for that test.

    I do admit that I struggle to understand the need for personal testing once a diagnosis has been made. I always feel that it merely increases focus on the condition rather than learning to live and this is from personal experience.

  • I find my heart rate monitor is essential as I continue to try to keep myself fit. When I am cycling up a hill it feels like I am making an effort, but is my HR 130 bpm or 210 bpm? The former means I'm in nsr the latter afib and I need to back off or stop. Can I tell the difference without measuring my rate, no I can not. The monitor is excellent at recording my HR, it is not an ECG but I don't need that level of information.

    BobD what exactly is your role on this site? Are you here to opine and preach or support and encourage; once again I find myself exasperated by your need to interject with your personal views which dismiss others and are potentially dangerous (e.g. GPs don't know what they are doing, personal testing ..... etc). You have an important role to play as a volunteer and I fear you abuse this and are way too opinionated.

  • I said I struggle to understand that is all. You explained why you feel the need and that is fine. My opinion about that is not relevant and I won't give it.

  • This site with all who contribute is a godsend for all of us, from the moment we find out we have these heart problems! Because we have to get and to wait months and months for the various appointments and tests to get our diagnosis, prognosis and decisions for treatments. (Going on for years)! The worry and distress, especially when shared with relatives is by definition stressful and could make our condition worse.

    So this board is a godsend!

    Also having any kind of shared experience and thoughts is really useful preparation for eventually meeting our consultants. It helps to know what to ask and to understand our options for hopefully, the best treatments

    Thanks to BobD and others who consistently can be relied on to lead the board discussions and give so much information! We can read, assess and relate to each person's experiences. Because, even though each of us is different, but we are all in the same boat!!!

    I say thanks all of you! Great stuff!

  • I'm with you on this one BobD . Your down to earth approach is a rock for the panic stricken. I'm sure I've said before that taking responsibility for one's health does not turn you into a Medical Consultant - it has to be a partnership. Living with a medical condition of any sort has to be a balance between scaring oneself s***less and responding to unusual physical changes which may need looking at.

    Hurray for all those who can keep fit and the same for the rest of us who bumble on feeling fine most of the time. I always wonder if we, the informed, have better outcomes than the millions of others who just keep taking the tablets!!

  • I posted this and my reason is to check if my Pacemaker is working properly (explained in detail on Heart Rate Part 4 Trending: The Fitbit: about 3 posts from the end)

    I think that would count as a good reason.

  • I also struggle to understand why you feel the need to go the lengths of this sort of detail. A Fitbit or Garmin should be fine for personal interest and self monitoring. If you are showing any major abnormality on this that may require a therapy change then fair enough to get a Novacor done.

    What does your cardiologist suggest?

  • I use an app on my phone which I have tested with my GP and it's very accurate. The stats also match up to my ECG's - Cardiio, an app that turns your phone into an accurate heart rate monitor. Try it. app.cardiio.com

  • I tried that app and found it to be inaccurate circa 25% high or low.

    I am in persistent AF.

  • After a day of hard post ablation palpitations, I used a phone app to take my heart rate. It showed the rate was in the 30s. I called "ask a nurse" and she said to go to the nearest hospital. There, the rate was in the 80s. I was told that phone apps cannot accurately check heart rates for people in afib. They said it couldn't detect the soft/fast beats of palpitations.

  • So I use a Garmin Vivosmart HR, it tracks my heart rate over a 24hr period, and it samples more frequently when using it with an activity (walking/running/swimming). I also use it with my Garmin Fenix 2 instead of wearing a heart strap. So, I'm with MarkySmith on this, you soon get to know your own correct zones, and if you are in AFIB the HeatRate on the monitor tends to show as higher. Its that stage I stop take a break let it calm down before continuing.. Has worked great for me.

  • Although these monitors will indicate rapid af those without a chest strap will under read the rate by a considerable amount, but I agree are often useful to let you know if you are in af as your rate is likely to be higher than you would otherwise expect.

  • Blimey..... all this technical stuff is new to me. Amazing that people have time to self-monitor so precisely...... Us less active afibers marvel at managing to go uphill without our hearts walloping out of rhythm!

    Interesting to see that irritability is a shared side effect, however. { Joke? }

    from Lizty, ex dancer, cyclist, tennis player.... now, sadly, more focused on pilates....

  • If you get paroxysmal af then it's good to try and abort any episode as soon as possible, so self monitoring seems like a good idea even if you're not an athlete, but even more so if you are.

  • I was never very active apart from dog strolling but I too enjoy Pilates

  • Girl after my own heart. Been there done that and now full of arthritis. lol

  • The Polar H7 is a blue tooth heart rate monitor on a chest band the connects to any smart phone using the Polar Beat App. It is more accurate than any of wrist monitor and no need to buy a sports watch. This is probably the cheapest reliable option.

  • I'm amazed at the number of units that came out of the dark (and that weren't suggested earlier in my "Heart Rate Part (1-5) series"). I will be looking each of these up.

    Do all of these units provide a graph showing a heart rate trend line?

  • I looked up the units suggested thus far on this thread.

    Here’s what my research indicates regarding whether the unit: a) produces a trend line (graph) for at least 60 minutes and will b) track low heart rates. (An alternative to the trend line would be an accurate indication of when heart rate FALLS BELOW A CERTAIN LEVEL.


    I was not able to find manuals on the suggested units, so I’d appreciate it if you could fill in the gaps.

    ***Cardiio - Heart Rate Monitor: Very little information available but, from what I can see, no trend line.

    ***HeartScan HCG-801 Monitor: Not good enough: 30 second max measurement.

    ***Garmin HRM-Tri (strap): I’m having a difficult time figuring out how this works. I understand it’s attached to the chest but is it supposed to hook up with another unit? trisports.com/garmin-hrm-tr... (Fenix 2?; Garmin Edge 510?; 910xt?, Vivoactive?)

    static.garmin.com/pumac/HRM... These instructions don’t say much about how you can set up and read results relating to heart rate.

    manualslib.com/manual/97583... seems to relate to a Garmin wrist device.

    ***Garmin Vivosmart HR: can’t find useful information on this manualslib.com/manual/10196...

    ***Polar H7: Seems it could be the most promising, But I read many reviews and still don’t understand what data it provides and how that data is displayed.

  • I take it the Omron isn't going to suit. It does provide a graph. As you say, it just gives a 30 second analysis and indicates an average heart rate over the time. It gives no indication how fast the faster sections are. I get little runs of NSR in with AF and these will bring down the average significantly.

  • I previously gave you details of heart monitors that have an alert for high or low rates and attach a link to other useful stuff a-fib.com/guide-to-diy-hear....

    Surely there is something here that suits you?

  • I'm sorry. This must've gotten past me. I'll check it over. Thanks.

  • Here's the post again. ThecGarmin instructions refer to many of their devices. "Oh yes I see there is no heart rate alarm, although many seem to be requesting it. Many older devices had this as standard, but it doesn't seem to be a feature now on many devices, but you may get one of these quite cheaply. Although not as accurate as an Ecg they may be helpful to select low and high rates.



    Why not visit a shop to see the models?

    The Garmin fr70 is now quite cheap. You won't need gps so this should be ok for you.

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