BACKGROUND: Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) is one of the most predictive biometrics for cardiovascular health and overall mortality. However, VO2max is rarely measured in large-scale research studies or routine clinical care because of the high cost, participant burden, and requirement for specialized equipment and staff.OBJECTIVE: To overcome the limitations of clinical VO2max measurement, we aim to develop a digital VO2max estimation protocol that can be self-administered remotely using only the sensors within a smartphone. We also aim to validate this measure within a broadly representative population across a spectrum of smartphone devices.METHODS: Two smartphone-based VO2max estimation protocols were developed: a 12-minute run test (12-MRT) based on distance measured by GPS and a 3-minute step test (3-MST) based on heart rate recovery measured by a camera. In a 101-person cohort, balanced across age deciles and sex, participants completed a gold standard treadmill-based VO2max measurement, two silver standard clinical protocols, and the smartphone-based 12-MRT and 3-MST protocols in the clinic and at home. In a separate 120-participant cohort, the video-based heart rate measurement underlying the 3-MST was measured for accuracy in individuals across the spectrum skin tones while using 8 different smartphones ranging in cost from US $99 to US $999.RESULTS: When compared with gold standard VO2max testing, Lin concordance was pc=0.66 for 12-MRT and pc=0.61 for 3-MST. However, in remote settings, the 12-MRT was significantly less concordant with the gold standard (pc=0.25) compared with the 3-MST (pc=0.61), although both had high test-retest reliability (12-MRT intraclass correlation coefficient=0.88; 3-MST intraclass correlation coefficient=0.86). On the basis of the finding that 3-MST concordance was generalizable to remote settings whereas 12-MRT was not, the video-based heart rate measure within the 3-MST was selected for further investigation. Heart rate measurements in any of the combinations of the six Fitzpatrick skin tones and 8 smartphones resulted in a concordance of pc=0.81. Performance did not correlate with device cost, with all phones selling under US $200 performing better than pc>0.92.CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate the importance of validating mobile health measures in the real world across a diverse cohort and spectrum of hardware. The 3-MST protocol, termed as heart snapshot, measured VO2max with similar accuracy to supervised in-clinic tests such as the Tecumseh (pc=0.94) protocol, while also generalizing to remote and unsupervised measurements. Heart snapshot measurements demonstrated fidelity across demographic variation in age and sex, across diverse skin pigmentation, and between various iOS and Android phone configurations. This software is freely available for all validation data and analysis code.
View details for DOI 10.2196/26006
View details for PubMedID 34085945