Journal of Veterinary Behavior – Clinical Applications and Research 9: 341-346.
Ille, N., Aurich, J., Erber, R. and Aurich, C., 2014.
Heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) are often determined with Polar heart rate monitors (HRMs; S810i; Polar, Kempele, Finland). The aims of this study were to compare data from horses obtained by Polar HRMs and a portable Televet electrocardiogram (ECG; 100 version 4.2.3; Kruuse, Marslev, Denmark) device and to determine appropriate recording times in horses (n = 14). Correlations were calculated and a Bland-Altman analysis was carried out to examine agreement between recording systems. For beat-to-beat (RR) interval, uncorrected and corrected data were highly correlated irrespective of the recording system and recording time (r > 0.99, P < 0.001). For HRV variables, standard deviation of RR interval and root mean square of successive RR intervals, correlations higher than 0.9 were obtained between uncorrected and corrected ECG but not Polar data. The RR interval, HR, and HRV from corrected Televet and Polar data at no time differed between the recording systems. However, with the increase in recording time, the RR interval decreased (P < 0.001). Thus, for comparisons, recording intervals of similar length should be chosen. Correlations among RR interval, HR, and HRV variables obtained by ECG and HRMs were highly significant at all recording times (r > 0.9, P < 0.001). Correlations increased with increasing recording time. Bland-Altman graphs showed a strong agreement between HRMs and ECG and mean RR intervals, HR, and HRV variables were close to identical. In conclusion, Polar HRMs are as adequate as ECG recordings in horses. Owing to a low HR in stationary horses, recording times below 2 minutes will underestimate changes in HR and HRV.