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Role of Wearable Technology in the Sleep-Heart Practice—a Conceptual Approach

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Purpose of Review

Commercially available wearable activity and sleep trackers (WAST) have grown in popularity with continuously expanded sensors and algorithm upgrades that purport to measure various biological functions including sleep, blood pressure, physical activity, energy expenditure, pulse rate, and even the electrocardiogram (EKG).

Recent Findings

The wide acceptance of these devices presents a unique opportunity for health care providers to improve care delivery. Recent practice guidelines and studies have attempted to define the role of these consumer-based devices in the practice of sleep medicine. As manufacturers of these devices expand their scope and improve their sensor technology, novel applications and concepts continue to emerge. These applications include better monitoring of health status, impact of medical interventions, and adherence to interventions over prolonged periods of treatment. As more patients become consumers of this technology and engaged in their own health monitoring, these devices will place an added burden on the medical community to incorporate the data safely and effectively into clinical practice and decision-making.


In this review, we provide a conceptual approach to incorporating these devices into the practice of sleep medicine as it applies to patients with cardiovascular disease. We will incorporate our unique clinical perspective in the OSU Sleep Heart Program, a comprehensive management program of patients with advanced cardiovascular diseases. We will use a broad conceptual approach recognizing that the available data on the commercial devices suffer from the limited number of studies and the continuously developing algorithms and applications.

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Correspondence to Rami N. Khayat.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Heart Disease and Sleep Disturbances

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Sawyer, C., Khayat, R.N. Role of Wearable Technology in the Sleep-Heart Practice—a Conceptual Approach. Curr Sleep Medicine Rep 6, 46–54 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40675-020-00167-x

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  • Actigraphy
  • Wearable technology
  • Activity trackers
  • Sleep apnea