Each year, more than 4 million patients experience dizziness, fainting, or discomfort from a pounding or racing heartbeat. Their doctors give many of these patients a small wearable device that continuously monitors their heart rhythm via electrocardiogram (ECG) for up to a month while they go about their normal activities. In contrast to ECG recordings obtained in the hospital or doctor’s office, these ambulatory ECGs are often corrupted by episodes of noise and can be difficult or impossible to analyze. The noise can cause false positive and false negative event detections that increase the time and cost of analysis and can result in delayed or missed diagnosis of heart rhythm abnormalities.
Engineers at VivaQuant, with support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, are developing a heart rhythm monitoring device that will employ Multi-Domain Signal Processing™ (MDSP) to suppress in-band noise by up to 26 dB without distorting the ECG waveform. This device, with algorithms designed with MATLAB® and implemented on an embedded processor with MATLAB Coder™, enables accurate detection of cardiac arrhythmias from noisy ECGs. “I’ve used MATLAB for many years to develop complex signal processing, control, and informatics algorithms,” says Marina Brockway, founder and chief technology officer of VivaQuant. “With MATLAB Coder and Fixed-Point Designer, I can go from idea to product faster than I ever thought possible.”