The new heart health features, cardiovascular age and cardio Capacity, estimate arterial stiffness and VO2Max to help users understand their heart health and identify potential risks early.

Summary: ŌURA has launched two new heart health features for its smart ring: cardiovascular age and cardio capacity. These features estimate arterial stiffness and VO2Max, providing users with insights into their cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular age compares the estimated age of the user’s vascular system to their chronological age, while cardio capacity measures aerobic endurance. Developed with input from cardiologists and research institutions, these features aim to help users understand and improve their heart health, making advanced cardiovascular insights more accessible outside of clinical settings.

Key Takeaways:

  • ŌURA’s smart ring now includes cardiovascular age and cardio capacity, which estimate arterial stiffness and VO2Max to provide comprehensive heart health insights.
  • Cardiovascular age helps users understand the aging of their vascular system compared to their chronological age, while cardio capacity measures aerobic endurance and overall cardiovascular efficiency.
  • Developed with cardiologists and research institutions, these features make advanced cardiovascular health insights available to users outside of clinical settings, promoting early risk identification and preventive care. 

ŌURA, maker of the Oura Ring sleep tracker, announced the launch of two new heart health features: cardiovascular age and cardio capacity. 

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally, responsible for a third of all deaths. Because cardiovascular and heart disease can present in a variety of ways—including disorders of the heart and blood vessels like coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and other conditions—it can be difficult for people to understand the state of their heart health and take preventative steps before an unwanted health event like a heart attack or stroke.

ŌURA’s heart health features work together to combine information about estimated arterial stiffness and VO2Max to give ŌURA members an indication of their cardiovascular health and the potential implications on their long-term health.

Cardiovascular Age

Cardiovascular age helps ŌURA members understand their estimated cardiovascular age relative to their chronological age, helping them identify behaviors that can positively impact their health span. ŌURA gauges cardiovascular age by analyzing age-related observations within a photoplethysmograph signal, which carries information about estimated arterial stiffness and pulse wave velocity.

Cardiovascular age provides a quick, easy-to-digest look at how a person’s vascular system may be aging and what that could mean for long-term health.

How it works: After an ŌURA member has used the Oura app for at least 14 days, they will see a cardiovascular age metric that indicates if they are trending below, above, or in alignment (within five years) of their chronological age.

Cardio Capacity

Cardio capacity is based on an estimation of VO2Max, which is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use during intense or effortful exercise. It is a well-known benchmark of aerobic endurance, reflecting the efficiency of the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems in supplying oxygen to the muscles during sustained physical activity. 

In simple terms, the better a person’s cardio capacity, the healthier their cardiovascular system (and organs) will likely be across a lifetime.

With the launch of this feature, ŌURA aims to reposition VO2Max from a sports metric to a benchmark of health span and longevity. It reveals how well your heart, lungs, blood vessels, muscles, and nervous system all work together. For most members, a high VO2Max is likely to be correlated with an “aligned” or “lower” cardiovascular age.

How it works: To use this feature, ŌURA members will be prompted to take a walking test to establish a baseline VO2Max that is translated to cardio capacity. Traditionally, VO2Max is measured in a lab using specialty equipment that is inaccessible, both physically and financially, for most of the population. ŌURA’s approach is a purposeful departure from that method; it’s more accessible for more people (ie, not just elite athletes), providing insights that extend beyond performance.

Prioritizing Cardiovascular Health

“Prioritizing cardiovascular health is crucial for extending healthspan, as it supports physical vitality and resilience, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases,” says Shyamal Patel, PhD, senior vice president of science at ŌURA, in a release. “In partnership with board-certified cardiologists and scientists at research institutions like the Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles, along with ŌURA’s medical advisory board, we have rigorously developed our science and algorithms to ensure these features deliver accurate insights for ŌURA’s wide-ranging and diverse member base. We’re committed to continued investment and development in heart health and look forward to continued expansion in this critical area.”

ŌURA aims for future iterations of cardio capacity to integrate into larger holistic health views in the ŌURA Aapp, demonstrating the relationship between changes in cardio capacity and cardiovascular age, or how these outcomes may change activity and readiness trends over time.

Expected Outcomes

The goal of these new features is to address health holistically, with the understanding that each part of a person’s physiology is inextricably intertwined, according to a release from ŌURA. While cardiovascular age and cardio capacity are heart health features, both have implications for multiple organ systems. 

Cardiovascular age estimates the stiffening of large arteries, which has direct effects on the heart and also other major organs including the brain and kidneys. “As a result, both cardiovascular age and cardio capacity are much more than heart health features, they are comprehensive health span insights,” according to a release from ŌURA.

Additionally, ŌURA provides actionable insights to help members change or maintain their cardiovascular age, depending on their goals. ŌURA shares weekly and monthly insights into how cardiovascular age and cardio capacity metrics are trending, offering strategies to sleep, move, and de-stress better. 

Broad Applications for Healthcare

These insights can be useful for individuals as well as clinicians, research institutions, and more. For healthcare professionals and researchers, ŌURA’s heart health features can provide data for patient care, clinical assessments, and research studies, and for human performance teams in sports and military settings, they can help athletes and personnel optimize training and performance based on cardiovascular health metrics.

“Wearables are uniquely positioned to give people a non-invasive and simple way to understand how they are doing cardiovascularly before they require intervention,” says Jag Singh, MD, PhD, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in a release. “The power of wearables in prevention and longevity is undeniable. While not a replacement for gold-standard lab tests, they can fill an important gap in accessibility and usability for people at scale.”

Collaboration with AHA’s Innovators’ Network

In addition, ŌURA has announced it has joined the American Heart Association Center for Health Technology & Innovation’s (the Center) Innovators’ Network. The Center is focused on building and fostering health technology relationships to develop innovative and scalable solutions.

The Innovators’ Network is a healthcare technology consortium that connects entrepreneurs, providers, researchers, and payers. Members collaborate with the Center in different ways, including the building of models for clinical outcome studies, lowering the significant cost of developing those studies independently, helping connect the science to technology, and providing evidence that a digital platform improves healthcare outcomes— a key concern for providers and payers.

Cardiovascular age and cardio capacity are rolling out to ŌURA members in late May 2024 and will be available on Oura Ring Gen3 devices on both Android and iOS.

Photo caption: ŌURA Ring

Photo credit: ŌURA