Heart rate tracking with alerts

I want to track someone’s heart rate continuously with some kind of wearable device, and then have it send an alert to me (or an emergency number) if her heart stops or does anything weird. I figure this is reasonably similar to tracking heart rate and sending data to beeminder, so I’m hoping folks here might have clues about how to do it.

More info: My friend is having some kind of trouble with her heart, which apparently caused her to pass out yesterday. We went to the ER, and they said she should see a specialist in a week or so, and in the meantime call 911 if it happens again. However I’m concerned if she is unconscious again, she won’t be in a position to get help. So I’m interested in any kind of system that might tell if a person is having trouble with their heart, unconscious, not breathing, or would otherwise let me know if anything especially bad was up. Especially at night, when it is harder to substitute by just being physically around other alert people all of the time. I can’t easily find a device or system to deal with this situation, though it must be a common problem. Do you know of anything that does what I want? Or where to look? Thanks!

Added: I don’t have much experience with wearable activity trackers and the like - for all I know it might be possible to do this with lots of devices in common use, but because I’m new to them and it isn’t an advertised feature, I wouldn’t know. So if it seems like I’m missing something obvious, I probably am!


I know that several of the major companies are now working on strapless (i.e. wrist-worn) heart rate monitoring. But I think that most of them are still focused on it as a training tool as opposed to continuous tracking. Epson, Basis, Up, Withings I know all of these have heart rate measuring capabilities. Any of those you’d still need to roll your own code for alerting. (For example I just checked the UP IFTTT channel and they don’t have any heart rate triggers currently).

Cc’ing @maggied because I believe this is in her wheelhouse?

good luck!


The new Fitbit Charge HR is a wrist-worn tracker that includes heart rate monitoring. Reviews says that it works, if slightly inaccurate for the hard core trackers. I think that means that it is more than accurate enough to detect missing heart rate. Don’t know about triggers and such though.

1 Like

I’m aware of the Basis Peak, Angel Sensor and Fitbit Charge HR fit heart rate tracking. Good luck!

1 Like

The basis Peak does heart rate tracking, but has no external API to produce a trigger alert. It does a wireless sync automatically every half hour, so you could log on to the web portal and see their recent heart rate but that doesn’t sound like what you want.

The UP3 only checks heart rate once a day, so ignore that one.

The fitbit seems to have a dash like the basis peak where you could go and check. It also seems to have an api[1] so you could build a trigger app, but it doens’t look like their exists one already :frowning:

[1] https://wiki.fitbit.com/display/API/API-Get-Intraday-Time-Series

1 Like

Thanks for the cc @bee.

People with life threatening arrhythmias will often receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which would both detect a heart problem and try to shock the body out of it. There may also be wearable heart monitors (e.g. holter monitors) that have some sort of alert function built in. It sounds like neither of these options are on the table right now, though. The other thing I can think of is a medical alert system, but I think those are just for fall detection.

AFAIK, it’s unlikely that any of the wearable activity trackers would have a heart rate alert feature built in. That would almost certainly require FDA approval. The Fitbit API is a worth a shot if you want to implement this yourself (although I have not used it personally).

1 Like