Researchers reported that accelerometry may be a useful, noninvasive, and cost-effective tool to monitor disease progression in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

“In this pilot study, positive correlations were found between known echocardiographic markers of PAH and accelerometry data,” the authors reported. “Tricuspid regurgitation and pulmonary artery acceleration time were the echocardiographic variables that correlated most with accelerometry data.” 

This study was published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal. 

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Echocardiography has been widely used to characterize cardiac function for the last few decades. It can also be used to estimate functional capacity when monitoring patients while they perform functional tasks such as the 6-minute walk test. Nevertheless, critics claim that the 6-minute walk test does not accurately reflect the functionality of patients with less severe disease. 

Read more about PAH etiology 

“Accelerometry is an emerging technology to accurately measure exercise capacity in real time, with early data demonstrating fewer steps per day and greater sedentary time in patients with PAH than in those without PAH,” the researchers said. 

The authors of the study sought to compare echocardiography measurements with functional data as measured by an accelerometry in a cohort of patients with PAH. They recruited patients with a confirmed diagnosis of PAH (n=32) seen at the Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center between September 2016 and July 2017. 

Selected participants underwent a clinically indicated transthoracic echocardiogram that revealed their qualitative global right ventricular function, tricuspid regurgitant peak velocity, pulmonary artery acceleration time, and other cardiac health parameters. In addition, patients were given a Fitbit device that tracked their number of steps, heart rate, activity level, and energy expenditure. Patients were also able to upload relevant data to a cloud interface. 

This study opens the door for future research to be conducted on the strengths and limitations of accelerometry as a long-term monitoring device in patients with PAH. 


Woo JL, DiLorenzo MP, Rosenzweig E, et al. Correlation between right ventricular echocardiography measurements and functional capacity in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertensionTex Heart Inst J. 2022;49(6):e217719. doi:10.14503/THIJ-21-7719