Tuesday April 23, 2019

Novel ECG Method That Can Predict Heart Rhythm Using Ears

"We have shown how the ear can be used as an innovative anatomical site for ECG signal detection in healthy adults. We are now conducting further studies to validate this method in patients with cardiac arrhythmias,"

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Besides detecting previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, the device would be used to evaluate physical performance during exercise, prevent fainting and check the heart during symptoms including dizziness and breathlessness.

Researchers have developed a novel electrocardiogram (ECG) method that uses signals from the ear to check heart rhythm, making it easy for drivers, athletes and persons in the military to scan their own heart beat.

This is the first study to show that the ear can be used for ECG signal detection, said researchers at the annual congress of European Heart Rhythm Association 2019 in Lisbon.

“Mobile ECG devices present a major opportunity to detect atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder, and thereby prevent strokes and reduce hospitalisations,” said Raffaele De Lucia, of the University Hospital of Pisa in Italy.

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A second ECG was conducted using the index and middle finger of the left hand and a clip attached to the left ear. Pixabay

“All available portable ECG devices require both hands, but what if symptoms happen while driving?” De Lucia asked.

The study included 32 consecutive healthy volunteers (cardiology students and nurses). An ECG was first performed by the standard method, which uses the index and middle finger of each hand.

A second ECG was conducted using the index and middle finger of the left hand and a clip attached to the left ear.

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The authors said findings will pave the way for a new kind of single lead ECG wearable device, which leaves one hand free, making it easier to use. Pixabay

All ECGs were printed and analysed by the device and by two cardiologists who were blinded to which method had been used. No differences were detected in the ECG results obtained by the two methods, the researchers said.

“We have shown how the ear can be used as an innovative anatomical site for ECG signal detection in healthy adults. We are now conducting further studies to validate this method in patients with cardiac arrhythmias,” De Lucia said.

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The authors said findings will pave the way for a new kind of single lead ECG wearable device, which leaves one hand free, making it easier to use.

Besides detecting previously undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, the device would be used to evaluate physical performance during exercise, prevent fainting and check the heart during symptoms including dizziness and breathlessness. (IANS)

Next Story

Apple Watch Series 4 with ECG App Now Available in Europe, Hong Kong

The ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature can alert users to signs of AFib

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Comparisons between irregular pulse-detection on Apple Watch and simultaneous electrocardiography patch recordings showed the pulse detection algorithm has 71 per cent positive predictive value. Pixabay

Apple Watch Series 4 with industry-first features like ECG reading app and irregular rhythm notification will now be available in Europe and Hong Kong.

With watchOS 5.2, customers in 19 European countries including Germany can take an ECG reading with Apple Watch Series 4 at any time.

“All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored securely in the Health app on iPhone,” Apple said in a statement late Wednesday.

The ECG app enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist.

It can capture heart rhythm on demand in a moment when users experience symptoms such as a rapid or skipped heart beat and help provide clinically important data to physicians.

Apple Watch
“New electrodes in Apple Watch Series 4 now enable customers to take an ECG directly from the wrist,” Apple said in a statement on Thursday. Flickr

The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch occasionally checks heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified.

The ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature can alert users to signs of AFib.

“We’ve seen the ECG app and irregular rhythm notifications on Apple Watch have meaningful impact on our customers across the US,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer.

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A recent clinical trial of around 600 participants found that the ECG app on Apple Watch demonstrated 98.3 per cent sensitivity in classifying AFib and 99.6 per cent specificity in classifying sinus rhythm in classifiable recordings, when compared to an ECG administered by a cardiologist.

The irregular rhythm notification feature was recently studied in the Apple Heart Study which found “only 0.5 per cent of participants received irregular pulse notifications, an important finding given concerns about potential over-notification.” (IANS)