Development, Validation, and Optimisation of High-Quality ECG Processing Algorithms
According to international standards, cardiac pacemakers have to indicate the status of their batteries upon magnet application by specific stimulation patterns. The purpose of this study has been to assess whether this concept can be used as a basis for automated and manufacturer independent examination of the depletion level of pacemakers in the framework of a collaborative telemedical pacemaker follow-up system. A prototype of such a system was developed and tested in a real clinical environment. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were recorded during magnet application and automatically processed to extract the specific stimulation patterns. The results were used to assign each signal a corresponding pacemaker status: "ok," "replace" or "undefined," based on the expected behavior of the devices as specified by the manufacturer. The outcome of this procedure was compared to the result of an expert examination, resulting in a positive predictive value of 100% for the detection of ECGs indicating pacemaker status "ok." The method can, therefore, be utilized to quickly, safely and manufacturer neutrally classify cases into the categories "ok" and "needs further checking," which - in a telemedical setting - may be used to increase the efficiency of pacemaker follow-up procedures in the future.