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Detection of potentially deadly atrial fibrillation dramatically improved by new algorithm
Date:5/19/2010

ndard Holter or arrhythmia event monitors, which record heartbeats over an extended period of time, accurate detection of this sporadic phenomenon is complicated by the fact that the average human heart beats 72 times per minute. "It is impractical for a trained technician to sort through data on 100,000 heartbeats in each day's recording," Chon says.

Chon's algorithm addresses the need for accurate and automatic detection in two ways: by using a novel technique to detect AF episodes that might otherwise be missed, and by enabling AF to be detected and recorded in real time, eliminating the need for manual detection after the fact.

Previous algorithms have relied upon tracking either the absence of a type of electrical activity in the heart known as the P-wave, or the variability in the timing of the contraction of the ventricle (which produces the tall spikes on an ECG tracing). While absence of P-wave fluctuations are the most telling barometer for AF, motion and noise artifacts can result in AF going undetected. Chon's algorithm, in contrast, combines three different statistical techniques, building upon the unique strengths of each to detect randomness, or markedly increased beat-to-beat variability. It is able to detect AF episodes with an accuracy of 95 percent; previous monitors have had an accuracy of only 70 to 80 percent.

The algorithm enables the TeleSentry mobile cardiac telemetry device and software in the CardioView Dx Suite to analyze the electrical information it detects in real time so it can immediately flag AF episodes, eliminating the need for technicians to spend hours analyzing the data. This is a significant improvement over traditional methods such as Holter monitors, which simply store raw data that must then be downloaded and carefully examined when the monitors are returned to a hospital or other healthcare facility.

"Early detection leads to early intervention, which is the key to saving lives," Merchan
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Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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