Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most distressing side effect in cancer patients and affects the survival rate. However, most patients do not report their fatigue level. This study is aimed to develop an objective CRF assessment method based on heart rate variability (HRV). Methods: In this study, patients with lung cancer who received chemotherapy or target therapy were enrolled. Patients wore wearable devices with photoplethysmography that regularly recorded HRV parameters for seven consecutive days and completed the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) questionnaire. The collected parameters were divided into the active and sleep phase parameters to allow tracking of fatigue variation. Statistical analysis was used to identify correlations between fatigue scores and HRV parameters. Findings: In this study, 60 patients with lung cancer were enrolled. The HRV parameters including the low-frequency/high-frequency (LF/HF) ratio and the LF/HF disorder ratio in the active phase and the sleep phase were extracted. A linear classifier with HRV-based cutoff points achieved correct classification rates of 73 and 88% for mild and moderate fatigue levels, respectively. Conclusion: Fatigue was effectively identified, and the data were effectively classified using a 24-h HRV device. This objective fatigue monitoring method may enable clinicians to effectively handle fatigue problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1103979
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • cancer-related fatigue
  • heart rate variability
  • LF/HF ratio
  • photoplethysmography
  • wearables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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