June 13th, 2022

5+1 Benefits of Movesense Chest Strap ECG Monitor vs. Holter Devices

Movesense Medical chest strap ECG monitor

Clinical multi-lead ECG systems, e.g., Holter ECGs, are expensive, involve considerable participant and researcher burden and are not practical for field base monitoring in active populations.[i]

The new ECG monitors with a chest strap form factor offer many benefits for monitoring certain heart parameters and cardiac health. Especially for long-term monitoring of heart rate variability and arrhythmias, chest strap ECG monitors eliminate most of the shortcomings of traditional Holter ECG recorders.

One of the new chest strap ECG monitors is Movesense Medical, a programmable 1-lead ECG sensor from Movesense Ltd, a Finnish expert of health and sports wearables. This article describes the main advantages of chest strap ECG monitors, especially the Movesense Medical sensor, over Holter monitors.

Movesense Medical is registered as a Class IIa medical device (MDR 2017/745). It is intended to be used with a host application on a mobile phone or on another Bluetooth-enabled receiving device. The freely available Movesense development platform includes open tools and sample code for creating compatible host applications.

Here are some of the benefits that those new solutions with Movesense Medical can deliver:

1. No restrictions on the patient’s daily life

The key advantage of chest strap ECG sensors is their form factor and material itself. A chest strap ECG sensor is compact and comfortable: a soft, elastic textile strap around the chest and a sensor attached to the strap with simple snaps. This provides several other benefits when using the product.

Compared to a Holter device, a heart rate strap is light and unobtrusive to wear. Its small size, snug fit and full water resistance allow for a normal life, including exercise, showering and even swimming. The sports-related design means that using a chest strap is not associated with stigmatizing health problems, which may happen with Holter monitors.

2. Practical and inexpensive to use

Chest strap ECG monitors are simple enough for the patient to use independently. The operating process is considerably simpler than with Holter devices. For instance, the patient does not need to see care personnel to have the chest strap attached or to start and stop recording. Instead, the device can be sent to a patient or picked up from a care facility without a separate appointment. This saves the patient’s time and effort and can bring significant cost savings to the healthcare system.

3. Low starting cost

A typical Holter Monitor costs several thousand EUR / USD, while ECG straps are at clearly lower price points. For example, a Movesense Medical sensor costs € 199 + chest strap or adhesive electrodes. Volume discount applies for larger quantities. Lower unit cost and easier operation allow screening of larger populations, better availability of monitoring, or cost savings for the same number of patients.

Chest strap ECG monitors are consumer grade products. For many patients, they are affordable enough to be purchased for personal use, allowing for even more comprehensive screening and monitoring of heart symptoms.

4. Utility beyond health use

Some chest strap ECG monitors transmit heart rate and heart rate interval data using a standard Bluetooth heart rate profile. Movesense Medical also offers this feature. When not recording an ECG, you can connect the sensor to a regular sports watch, smart watch, or mobile sports app for exercise heart rate monitoring.

5. Higher probability of detecting cardiac symptoms

A common situation with a Holter monitor is that the symptom that caused the patient to see a cardiologist does not recur during the monitoring period. Chest-strap-based ECG monitors increase the likelihood of symptom detection in two ways.

First, the good wearability of the chest strap allows patients to live normally and continue to expose themselves to situations that typically trigger the symptom.

Second, the lower cost, easier operation, and good wearability of the chest strap allow for longer recording to ensure that the symptoms are caught. The patient can even keep the chest strap ECG sensor at home and start a new recording when symptoms occur.

+1: Movement measurement

In addition to heart rate and ECG sensors, Movesense Medical has a built-in 9-axis movement sensor. The combined movement sensor can simultaneously collect additional information about the patient’s activity and daily life. Movement data enables further analysis and interpretation of the ECG signal.

Learn more about Movesense Medical

Validated accuracy

12-lead ECG is the gold standard for ECG recording. Movesense Medical has been proven to be an accurate and clinically valid alternative to a 12-lead ECG for measuring heart rate variability[ii] and detecting atrial fibrillation[iii].  It is also validated to be highly accurate for estimating respiratory frequency[iv]

With the clinical validation, medical registration, and the recognized benefits, Movesense Medical has the potential to become a novel tool for healthcare providers to monitor the heart health of the population more widely and to reduce the care backlog more efficiently than with conventional methods.

Customizing the sensor and mobile

A unique feature of the Movesense Medical is its open application programming interface. It allows you to customize the device firmware and develop compatible mobile applications. Movesense Medical is available as an OEM product for custom labeling and can be manufactured in any quantity from small prototype batches to mass market volumes on our production line in Finland. With the firmware customizing option, also functional tailoring is possible. This makes it truly your own product optimized for your specific user need.

To discuss with the team about using Movesense Medical as part of your application:

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To start experimenting with Movesense Medical:

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[i] Wearable Devices Suitable for Monitoring Twenty Four Hour Heart Rate Variability in Military Populations, Katrina Hinde, Graham White and Nicola Armstrong, Sensors 2021, 21, 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041061

[ii] The Movesense Medical Sensor Chest Belt Device as Single Channel ECG for RR Interval Detection and HRV Analysis during Resting State and Incremental Exercise: A Cross-Sectional Validation Study, Bruce Rogers, Marcelle Schaffarczyk, Martina Clauß, Laurent Mourot, Thomas Gronwald, Sensors 2022, 22(5), 2032; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22052032, read Movesense news article.

[iii] Automatic Mobile Health Arrhythmia Monitoring for the Detection of Atrial Fibrillation: Prospective Feasibility, Accuracy, and User Experience Study, Onni E Santala et al., JMIR mHealth uHealth; https://mhealth.jmir.org/2021/10/e29933/, read Movesense news article.

[iv] Estimation of Respiratory Frequency in Women and Men by Kubios HRV Software Using the Polar H10 or Movesense Medical ECG Sensor during an Exercise Ramp, Bruce Rogers, Marcelle Schaffarczyk, Thomas Gronwald, Sensors 2022, 22(19), 7156; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22197156, read Movesense news article.

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