Background: International guidelines for physical activity recommend at least 150 min per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for adults, including those with cardiac disease. There is yet to be consensus on the most appropriate way to categorise raw accelerometer data into behaviourally relevant metrics such as intensity, especially in chronic disease populations. Therefore the aim of this study was to estimate acceleration values corresponding to inactivity and MVPA during daily living activities of patients with heart failure (HF), via calibration with oxygen consumption (VO2) and to compare these values to previously published, commonly applied PA intensity thresholds which are based on healthy adults.
Methods: Twenty-two adults with HF (mean age 71 ± 14 years) undertook a range of daily living activities (including laying down, sitting, standing and walking) whilst measuring PA via wrist- and hip-worn accelerometers and VO2 via indirect calorimetry. Raw accelerometer output was used to compute PA in units of milligravity (mg). Energy expenditure across each of the activities was converted into measured METs (VO2/resting metabolic rate) and standard METs (VO2/3.5 ml/kg/min). PA energy costs were also compared with predicted METs in the compendium of physical activities. Location specific activity intensity thresholds were established via multilevel mixed effects linear regression and receiver operator characteristic curve analysis. A leave-one-out method was used to cross-validate the thresholds.
Results: Accelerometer values corresponding with intensity thresholds for inactivity (< 1.5METs) and MVPA (≥3.0METs) were > 50% lower than previously published intensity thresholds for both wrists and waist accelerometers (inactivity: 16.7 to 18.6 mg versus 45.8 mg; MVPA: 43.1 to 49.0 mg versus 93.2 to 100 mg). Measured METs were higher than both standard METs (34-35%) and predicted METs (45-105%) across all standing and walking activities.
Conclusion: HF specific accelerometer intensity thresholds for inactivity and MVPA are lower than previously published thresholds based on healthy adults, due to lower resting metabolic rate and greater energy expenditure during daily living activities for HF patients.
Trial registration: Clinical trials.gov NCT03659877, retrospectively registered on September 6th 2018.