New Electrocardiogram Display

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The electrocardiograph machine has not changed significantly over the past 50 years. In this new type of display, the data is processed for pattern recognition that results in the ability to quickly ascertain some of the heart actions. The heart signals are characterized so that defective ion channels can be determined simply by observation. Heart murmurs can also be diagnosed by more easily recognized patterns, and perhaps many other types of heart problems.

The graphs illustrate how a quick visualization and diagnosis can be made. Fig. 1 shows two simulated heart pulses that appear similar in shape. The solid red curve of Fig. 1 is processed as shown in Fig. 2, while the lower dashed black curve appears as processed as in Fig. 3. The upper half of the processed curves represent the ion charge rate (QRS), while the lower half illustrates the rate of decay of the pulse (ST). The area within these closed curves correlates to the energies of the heart pulses. By comparison of the two processed curves, it is observed that the energy of the dashed pulse of Fig. 1 is considerably lower than that of the solid curve (note the scales), which indicates lower heart energy and a high degree of decline in the heart ion channel rates. The lower parts of the curves are in the form of spirals that correlate to the normal ST plus heart murmur. The area with these closed curves corresponds to energy (the lower scale in Fig. 3 indicates much lower pulse energy). Note the great disparity between Figures 2 and 3!

This single-channel electrocardiograph instrument has a pair of electrodes that allow fast reading by simply having the patient hold them, one in each hand. The electrical signals from these electrodes are applied to a signal-processing device that converts them into signals that are connected to the oscilloscope. The oscilloscope controls can be set to display the portions of the curve in various ways, and the levels can be read and compared to that of the normal heart by simple observation or detailed comparison. The oscilloscope output channels can be used for external plotting of the curves. Some oscilloscopes have digitized outputs for data storage, but even a low cost oscilloscope can be useful, The selling costs are for: (1) the sensors and their leads, (2) the signal processing unit and (3) the oscilloscope. Items (1) and (3) are presently available. Only the design and production of item (2) are required for the development of the system.

The benefits of this system are low cost of design and production, faster and more thorough diagnosis of heart problems and fewer man-hours. An electrocardiogram can be obtained within a few minutes, which is not much longer than it takes to check blood pressure. This will result in lower costs and greater potential market share.


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    Weldon Vlasak
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