Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Detection of potentially deadly atrial fibrillation dramatically improved by new algorithm

Developed by a researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the algorithm, which detects AF with an accuracy of 95 percent, is a key component of new technology from ScottCare Corporation that enables real-time, accurate detection of AF episodes

An algorithm developed by Ki H. Chon, PhD, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), in partnership with Snehraj Merchant of The ScottCare Corporation, makes it possible for a new heart monitoring system to detect incidents of atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, far more accurately than previous methods.

The algorithm, utilized in the new ScottCare CardioView Dx Suite, detects AF episodes with an accuracy of 95 percent--a dramatic improvement over the previous state of the art--and immediately flags them, obviating the need for a trained technician to spend hours analyzing data.

Atrial fibrillation, which affects about three million Americans, is an independent risk factor for death and a major cause of ischemic stroke, in which blood flow is reduced to part of the brain. Treatments are available that can significantly reduce or eliminate AF, but the condition must first be detected, which is difficult, Chon says.

"Unfortunately, it is notoriously difficult to diagnose," he notes. "AF is often asymptomatic and intermittent. In the vast majority of cases, diagnosis depends upon the presence of symptoms, such as rapid and irregular heart rate, and upon serendipity. Patients may be unaware of their irregular pulse and diagnosis may only be established during a fortuitous visit to a doctor."

In AF, the heart's normal sinus rhythm is disrupted by random electrical impulses in the atria and the pulmonary veins. This results in an irregular heartbeat that may be fleeting or recur intermittently for weeks or even years. While it is often a random phenomenon initially, AF is likely to become chronic, and it significantly elevates the risk for stroke and other complications, including congestive heart failure.

Without careful monitoring and early treatment, AF patients may be at risk of heart failure. But even when patients wear standard 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," Merchant said. "That is the motivator for developing and refining algorithms like this. We started with a simple goal of designing an efficient algorithm to accurately detect atrial fibrillation. That led us to complex methods for achieving that goal. This project illustrates how harnessing computing power for rapid execution of complex algorithms is the future of medical diagnostic equipment."

The algorithm was tested repeatedly using data from an independent database provided by MIT before being tested on ScottCare's own patient data, which were collected from a double blind study. "It performed, in all cases, with a very high degree of accuracy," says Chon.

About the ScottCare CardioView Dx Suite

Incorporating Holter monitoring, ambulatory telemetry, arrhythmia/event monitoring, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) monitoring and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, the ScottCare CardioView Dx Suite is the only single-platform, fully-integrated technology package for comprehensive ambulatory cardiovascular monitoring currently available. It features the most accurate atrial fibrillation (AF) detection capability currently available anywhere, significantly increasing the CardioView Dx Suite's potential of saving lives.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI was one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Its14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees. WPI's world-class faculty work with students in a number of cutting-edge research areas, leading to breakthroughs and innovations in such fields as biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, materials processing, and nanotechnology. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 25 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

Michael Dorsey | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>