Tech proves accurate in identifying patients with irregular heartbeat

A new method for evaluating electrocardiographic signals has been shown to be more effective than cardiac telemetry in detecting atrial fibrillation in stroke patients.

The approach—called electrocardiomatrix—converts two-dimensional signals from the ECG into a three-dimensional matrix that enables fast, accurate and intuitive detection of cardiac arrhythmias, according to researchers at Michigan Medicine.

“We validated the use of our technology in a clinical setting, finding the electrocardiomatrix was an accurate method to determine whether a stroke survivor had an Afib,” says co-inventor Jimo Borjigin, an associate professor of neurology and molecular and integrative physiology at Michigan Medicine.

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Borjigin and her colleagues recently published results in the journal Stroke from a single-center, prospective observational study.

“Electrocardiomatrix results were compared with the clinical team’s medical record documentation of AF identified through telemetry,” state the authors. “The application of electrocardiomatrix to stroke unit-acquired telemetry data is feasible and appears to have superior accuracy, compared with traditional monitor analysis by noncardiologists.”

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“Atrial fibrillation is a very important and modifiable risk factor for stroke,” notes first author Devin Brown, MD, professor of neurology and a stroke neurologist at Michigan Medicine. “More accurate identification of Afib should translate into more strokes prevented.”

In the study, the positive predictive value of electrocardiomatrix compared with the clinical documentation was 86 percent overall and 100 percent among the subset of patients who did not have a history of Afib.

“We originally noted five false positives and five false negatives in the study,” adds Borjigin, “but expert review actually found the electrocardiomatrix was correct instead of the clinical documentation we were comparing it to.”

Borjigin holds a patent in Japan for the electrocardiomatrix, and the Regents of the University of Michigan hold the patent in the United States for the technology.

“I believe that sooner or later, electrocardiomatrix will be used in clinical practice to benefit patients,” assisting the detection of all cardiac arrhythmias online or offline and side-by-side with the use of ECG, she concludes.

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