Wearable monitoring and interpretable machine learning can objectively track progression in patients during cardiac rehabilitation

Hélène De Cannière, Federico Corradi, Christophe J.P. Smeets, Melanie Schoutteten, Carolina Varon, Chris Van Hoof, Sabine Van Huffel, Willemijn Groenendaal, Pieter Vandervoort

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are often characterized by their multifactorial complexity. This makes remote monitoring and ambulatory cardiac rehabilitation (CR) therapy challenging. Current wearable multimodal devices enable remote monitoring. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can help in tackling multifaceted datasets. However, for clinical acceptance, easy interpretability of the AI models is crucial. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether a multi-parameter sensor could be used during a standardized activity test to interpret functional capacity in the longitudinal follow-up of CR patients. A total of 129 patients were followed for 3 months during CR using 6-min walking tests (6MWT) equipped with a wearable ECG and accelerometer device. Functional capacity was assessed based on 6MWT distance (6MWD). Linear and nonlinear interpretable models were explored to predict 6MWD. The t-distributed stochastic neighboring embedding (t-SNE) technique was exploited to embed and visualize high dimensional data. The performance of support vector machine (SVM) models, combining different features and using different kernel types, to predict functional capacity was evaluated. The SVM model, using chronotropic response and effort as input features, showed a mean absolute error of 42.8 m (±36.8 m). The 3D-maps derived using the t-SNE technique visualized the relationship between sensor-derived biomarkers and functional capacity, which enables tracking of the evolution of patients throughout the CR program. The current study showed that wearable monitoring combined with interpretable ML can objectively track clinical progression in a CR population. These results pave the road towards ambulatory CR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3601
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Machine learning
  • Patient progression monitoring
  • Physical fitness assessment
  • Wearable sensor

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