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Research Library

Alternative Devices for Heart Rate Variability Measures: A Comparative Test–Retest Reliability Study

    • Published: 2021
    • Jacquelin M. Killian1, Rachel M. Radin2, Cubby L. Gardner3, Lalon Kasuske4, Kylee Bashirelahi5, Dominic Nathan6, David O. Keyser5, Christopher J. Cellucci7, David Darmon8, and Paul E. Rapp5
    • Behav. Sci. 2021, 11, 68. DOI: 711th Human Performance Wing, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH, USA.2. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.3. Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, VA, USA.4. Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA.5. Traumatic Injury Research Program, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA.6. Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD, USA.7. Aquinas LLC, Berwyn, PA, USA.8. Department of Mathematics, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, USA.
    • Download the complete paper, click here.


Using healthy adult participants, seven measures of heart rate variability were obtained simultaneously from four devices in five behavioral conditions. Two devices were ECG-based and two utilized photoplethysmography. The 140 numerical values (measure, condition, device) are presented. The comparative operational reliability of the four devices was assessed, and it was found that the two ECG-base devices were more reliable than the photoplethysmographic devices. The interchangeability of devices was assessed by determining the between-device Limits of Agreement. Intraclass correlation coefficients were determined and used to calculate the standard error of measurement and the Minimal Detectable Difference. The Minimal Detectable Difference, MDD, quantifies the smallest statistically significant change in a measure and is therefore critical when HRV measures are used longitudinally to assess treatment response or disease progression.