Oura moves into heart health with arterial stiffness and VO2 max estimates

Cardiovascular Age and Cardio Capacity are rolling out to users this May
Oura Oura dives into heart health with arterial stiffness and VO2 max tracking photo 1
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Oura has announced two heart health features - Cardiovascular Age and Cardio Capacity - will be rolling out to users later this May, as the smart ring giant moves deeper into preventative care.

Cardiovascular Age - or CVA - is the Finnish company's take on arterial stiffness, harnessing the Oura Ring Gen 3's PPG to estimate pulse wave velocity and provide a snapshot of how a user's vascular system may be aging. 

The metric requires 14 days of data to establish a trend, indicating to the wearer whether their vascular system is aligned with their chronological age (within five years), or trending above or below this mark.

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Meanwhile, Cardio Capacity is simply an estimation of the user's VO2 max - the measure of the maximum volume of oxygen an individual can absorb (per kilogram of body weight) during peak performance.

Instead of traditional VO2 max estimations, though, which are almost always used to show athletic performance, Oura is instead using Cardio Capacity to highlight health span and longevity.

This will also be calculated with a walking test, rather than an outdoor run or cycle.

Both will be available to Oura members later this month, with the rollout beginning on 28 May. 

This new 'Heart Health' area is likely one that sees regular updates in the future, too, with Oura noting that future iterations of Cardio Capacity will integrate into a larger holistic health view in the app.

Oura hints that users will be able to view the relationship between changes in Cardio Capacity and CVA, and even how this affects Readiness and Activity trends.

We'll be testing these new features and providing an in-depth look at how they work once they've begun rolling out, so stay tuned for that deeper breakdown.

Analysis: Carving its own path in heart health

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We’ve seen major manufacturers like Huawei and Withings offer arterial stiffness estimations over the last few years, with varying levels of cut-through.

Oura is the latest to bet on using the insight to educate and aid users who might be at risk of cardiovascular and heart disease - and it signals a clear move into preventative health features.

It hopes to tackle the likes of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and other conditions with CVA.

And with its unique, health-focused take on VO2 max, Oura is also showing it's not simply adding features without proper consideration.

That's clear in the heart health features it hasn't added yet, too - ones like atrial fibrillation detection via ECG. 

When we asked CEO Tom Hale about this focus during a briefing on the new features, he hinted the company was committed to offering more wide-ranging preventative measures - at least for now.

“An ECG is really about detecting whether there’s a flaw in the way your heart is operating, but only a tiny fraction of the population has atrial fibrillation.

“Most of us could get an ECG - it wouldn't matter, because we don't have atrial fibrillation. But all of us have arteries and our blood moves through those arteries - that is universal.

“And the number one thing that causes a heart attack is the slow flow of blood that makes your heart have to work harder," he told Wareable.

We're intrigued at how the Oura app's upcoming Heart Health section will flesh out over the coming year or two - especially with the off-chance that new hardware will be released and provide even more new insights. 

For now, at least, the smart ring leader is proving its intent to keep carving its own path.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor joined Wareable in 2017, quickly making a name for himself by testing out language translation earbuds on a first date, navigating London streets in a wearable airbag, and experiencing skydiving in a VR headset.

Over the years, he has evolved into a recognized wearables and fitness tech expert. Through Wareable’s instructional how-to guides, Conor helps users maximize the potential of their gadgets, and also shapes the conversation in digital health and AI hardware through PULSE by Wareable.

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In addition to his contributions to Wareable, Conor’s expertise has been featured in publications such as British GQ, The IndependentDigital Spy, Pocket-lint, The Mirror, WIRED, and Metro.

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