Digital wearable devices provide a “real-world” assessment of physical activity and quantify intervention-related changes in clinical trials. However, the value of digital wearable device-recorded physical activity as a clinical trial outcome is unknown.
Because late sodium channel inhibition (ranolazine) improves stress laboratory exercise duration among angina patients, we proposed that this benefit could be quantified and translated during daily life by measuring digital wearable device-determined step count in a clinical trial.
We conducted a substudy in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of participants with angina and coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) with no obstructive coronary artery disease to evaluate the value of digital wearable device monitoring. Ranolazine or placebo were administered (500-1000 mg twice a day) for 2 weeks with a subsequent 2-week washout followed by crossover to ranolazine or placebo (500-1000 mg twice a day) for an additional 2 weeks. The outcome of interest was within-subject difference in Fitbit Flex daily step count during week 2 of ranolazine versus placebo during each treatment period. Secondary outcomes included within-subject differences in angina, quality of life, myocardial perfusion reserve, and diastolic function.
A total of 43 participants were enrolled in the substudy and 30 successfully completed the substudy for analysis. Overall, late sodium channel inhibition reduced within-subject daily step count versus placebo (mean 5757 [SD 3076] vs mean 6593 [SD 339], P=.01) but did not improve angina (Seattle Angina Questionnaire-7 [SAQ-7]) ( P=.83). Among the subgroup with improved angina (SAQ-7), a direct correlation with increased step count (r=.42, P=.02) was observed.
We report one of the first studies to use digital wearable device-determined step count as an outcome variable in a placebo-controlled crossover trial of late sodium channel inhibition in participants with CMD. Our substudy demonstrates that late sodium channel inhibition was associated with a decreased step count overall, although the subgroup with angina improvement had a step count increase. Our findings suggest digital wearable device technology may provide new insights in clinical trial research.