Sports Heart Monitors as Reliable Diagnostic Tools for Training Control and Detecting Arrhythmias in Professional and Leisure-Time Endurance Athletes: An Expert Consensus Statement.
There are countless types of portable heart rate monitoring medical devices used variously by leisure-time exercisers, professional athletes, and chronically ill patients. Almost all the currently used heart rate monitors are capable of detecting arrhythmias, but this feature is not widely known or used among their millions of consumers. The aims of this paper were as follows: (1) to analyze the currently available sports heart rate monitors and assess their advantages and disadvantage in terms of heart rate and rhythm monitoring in endurance athletes; (2) to discuss what types of currently available commercial heart rate monitors are most convenient/adjustable to the needs of different consumers (including occasionally physically active adults and cardiac patients), bearing in mind the potential health risks, especially heart rhythm disturbances connected with endurance training; (3) to suggest a set of "optimal" design features for next-generation smart wearable devices based on the consensus opinion of an expert panel of athletes, coaches, and sports medicine doctors. Ninety-two experts aged 20 years and over, involved in endurance sports on a daily basis, were invited to participate in consensus-building discussions, including 56 long-distance runners, 18 cyclists, nine coaches, and nine physicians (sports medicine specialists, cardiologists, and family medicine doctors). The overall consensus endorsed by these experts indicates that the "optimal" sports heart rate monitor should be a one-piece device of the smartwatch type (with two or more electrodes), with integrated smartphone features, and able to collect and continually transmit data without exhibiting artifacts. It should continuously record at least a single-lead electrocardiography, send an alert after an unexpected fall, be of reasonable weight, come at an affordable price, and be user friendly.
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