A smartwatch that can track heart rate can be used to monitor disease progression in people with COVID-19 and may predict how sick they will become, a study published Tuesday found.

Heart rate per step tracked with a smartwatch, a measure of heart and lung function, increased after COVID-19 symptom onset and was higher in study participants who reported a cough, data published Tuesday by Cell Reports Medicine showed.

"Identifying the varying patterns of different heart rate parameters derived from wearables across the course of COVID-19 infection is a substantial advance for the field," study co-author Dr. Srijan Sen said in a press release.

"This work can help us more meaningfully follow populations in future COVID-19 waves," said Sen, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Eisenberg Family Depression Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

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