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Comparison of Polar® heart rate interval data with simultaneously recorded ECG signals in horses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2010

Matthew Parker*
School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Deborah Goodwin
School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Rachael A Eager
Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Edward S Redhead
School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
David J Marlin
Centre for Equine Studies, Animal Health Trust, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK
*Corresponding author:
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Human heart rate monitors (HRMs) are frequently used in equine studies to measure heart rate (HR) and interbeat intervals (IBIs). However, to date, the most commonly used HRM (the Polar® system) in horses has not been validated against simultaneously recorded electrocardiogram (ECG) signals during a range of ambulatory conditions. Polar® S810i and ECG IBIs were simultaneously recorded from six horses under three conditions commonly included in behavioural observation: standing at rest, loose in the stable and at liberty in a field. Following recording, Polar® IBI data were corrected for error processing in cardiac data. Corrected and uncorrected Polar® data were then compared with simultaneously recorded ECG data using a variety of commonly measured time and frequency domain parameters (e.g. HR variability (HRV)). Polar® data collected while horses were stabled or in the field were significantly different from ECG data, even following correction of the data, and therefore, it may not be possible for the two systems to be used interchangeably. This study indicates the need for caution while using Polar® S810i for collecting HRV data, unless horses are stationary, and even when the IBI data are corrected for measurement error.

Research Paper
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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Current address: Centre for Animal Welfare, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, AL7 9TA, UK.

Current address: Hartpury College, Hartpury, Gloucester, UK.


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