Arm and wrist surface potential mapping for wearable ECG rhythm recording devices: a pilot clinical study

Abstract

This study addresses an important question in the development of a ECG device that enables long term monitoring of cardiac rhythm. This device would utilise edge sensor technologies for dry, non-irritant skin contact suitable for distal limb application and would be supported by embedded ECG denoising processes. Contemporary ECG databases including those provided by MIT-BIH and Physionet are focused on interpretation of cardiac disease and rhythm tracking. The data is recorded using chest leads as in standard clinical practise. For the development of a peripherally located heart rhythm monitor, such data would be of limited use. To provide a useful database adequate for the development of the above mentioned cardiac monitoring device a unipolar body surface potential map from the left arm and wrist was gathered in 37 volunteer patients and characterized in this study. For this, the reference electrode was placed at the wrist. Bipolar far-field electrogram leads were derived and analysed. Factors such as skin variability, 50Hz noise interference, electrode contact noise, motion artifacts and electromyographic noise, presented a challenge. The objective was quantify the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at the far-field locations. Preliminary results reveal that an electrogram indicative of the QRS complex can be recorded on the distal portion of the left arm when denoised using signal averaging techniques.

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