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One thing to consider is whether the device is a consumer fitness monitor for tracking heart rate, or if it’s a medical device approved by the Food and Drug Administration for detecting potentially dangerous heart rhythm irregularities.

First, the fitness monitors. Wrist-worn fitness trackers become less accurate with more vigorous exercise, which presumably is when you’d most want to know your heart rate. The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology, tested the Apple Watch, FitBit Charge HR, Basis Peak and Mio Alpha wristbands.

“We have patients come in who have different kinds of monitors like these. Many of them are very concerned because they’ve recorded values that seem way outside of the normal range,” says Dr. Marc Gillinov, a cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and an author on the study. The study was designed find out if those readings are accurate.

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Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/Elite_HRV_-_Heart_Rate_Variability_Reading.jpg/800px-Elite_HRV_-_Heart_Rate_Variability_Reading.jpg

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