St. Petersburg researchers will help save lives of arrhythmia patients
ETU researchers will increase accuracy of on-line diagnostics of dangerous forms of arrhythmia with brand-new methods.
The grant that the researchers received from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research will enable them to develop algorithms for automatic recognition of heartbeat irregularities by analyzing intracardiac electrograms and surface ECGs taken simultaneously.
To detect and classify dangerous forms of arrhythmia (fibrillations, atrial and ventriсular flutters), researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering of ETU “LETI” are proposing to utilize new methods for processing and automatically analyzing biomedical signals based on tracings of surface electrocardiograms (ECGs) and intracardiac electrograms (EG) when there is a defect in the electrical conduction system of the heart.
The task that the St. Petersburg researchers set for themselves is essential because there is a need to upgrade modern medical diagnostic equipment and develop personalized and digital medicine in Russia. The existing systems of computer processing of ECGs are not reliable enough, especially in real time. They are inferior to the traditional visual method of signal analysis.
“The surface ECG diagnostic method that is utilized today does not enable doctors to assess conditions of separate heart compartments, find out the trigger factors of arrhythmia, and unveil functional and anatomical causes of heartbeat irregularities. The surface ECG registers only the overall patterns of electric excitation spreading through the conduction system to the heart muscle.”
The ECG averaging and off-line ECG averaging methods are employed by cardiologists today to achieve reliable results. However, when a patient is in need of emergency medical treatment, arrhythmia diagnostics should not take more than a few seconds. When the new methods of digitals processing of biomedical signals, proposed by ETU researchers, are implemented, doctors will not have to pick between reliable but time-consuming and unreliable but quick any more. Real-time diagnostics will be as dependable as possible.
This approach can increase reliability and effectiveness of automatic diagnostics of dangerous form of arrhythmia that can lead to heart attack, congestive heart failure and even death.
The proposed methods and algorithms will be used in remote patient monitoring systems and will sound off in case arrhythmia is detected. Cardiac monitoring will be more effective which will enable doctors to detect dangerous heart rhythm irregularities in real time and prevent conditions, catastrophic for the patient, from occurring.
The Russian healthcare system will benefit from better cardiac monitors, implantable and external pacemakers, cardioverter defibrillators which will lead to better treatment of patients with heartbeat irregularities. It is estimated that there are over a hundred thousand of such patients per 1 million people.