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ECG Technologies – Debatable Issues

Tuesday, February 28, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alysa Craig
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Sneak Peek Directly from Debate Session 10 Chair, Dr. Peter Macfarlane!

The application of computer techniques in electrocardiology has been an area of continuous evolution since the early 1960s but how often do we stop to think as to whether some of the applications are really clinically helpful?  This session has been designed to provoke discussion around commonly used techniques where it might be argued in some cases that the clinical value is open to question. 

A series of motions is proposed and for each there will be a speaker in favour of the motion and a speaker against the motion.  Each will make a short presentation followed by a short debate between the two speakers and thereafter, there will be audience participation in the debate.  In this way, it is hoped that there will be complete involvement of the audience throughout the session. 

The first topic deals with automated interpretation and although it has been of value in some situations, most cardiologists will say for them it is an unnecessary luxury.  However, for many hospitals, no experienced cardiologist is available to review ECGs.  So is the technique itself of any value?

Similarly, there is a significant trend towards development of equipment for monitoring individuals 24/7 out of hospital. Experience shows that nursing staff in hospitals switch off monitoring equipment because of too many false positive alarms, so is there anything to be gained by monitoring individuals in an out of hospital environment when technical problems may proliferate?

ECG imaging involves some advanced mathematical modelling in order to determine the epicardial potentials accurately but it requires an MRI or CT scan to be most effective.  Is the technique therefore really cost effective when it can deal with only a small number of individuals each day?

Finally, small hand held devices and even wrist watches are now available for single channel ECG recording.  Some will present a report of “normal”, which refers to rhythm interpretation. An ECG may be showing other abnormal features although the rhythm is normal so are the public being misled in any way? 

This session should be of interest to all those who attend the International Society of Computerized Electrocardiology meeting as a user, a vendor or a developer of electrocardiographic equipment.

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