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Open AccessArticle

Single-Lead ECG Recordings Including Einthoven and Wilson Leads by a Smartwatch: A New Era of Patient Directed Early ECG Differential Diagnosis of Cardiac Diseases?

Department of Cardiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johannes Wesling University Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, 32429 Minden, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4377; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204377
Received: 9 August 2019 / Revised: 4 October 2019 / Accepted: 8 October 2019 / Published: 10 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in ECG Monitoring)
Background: Smartwatches that are able to record a bipolar ECG and Einthoven leads were recently described. Nevertheless, for detection of ischemia or other cardiac diseases more leads are required, especially Wilson’s chest leads. Objectives: Feasibility study of six single-lead smartwatch (Apple Watch Series 4) ECG recordings including Einthoven (I, II, III) and Wilson-like pseudo-unipolar chest leads (Wr, Wm, Wl). Methods: In 50 healthy subjects (16 males; age: 36 ± 11 years, mean ± SD) without known cardiac disorders, a standard 12-lead ECG and a six single-lead ECG using an Apple Watch Series 4 were performed under resting conditions. Recording of Einthoven I was performed with the watch on the left wrist and the right index finger on the crown, Einthoven II was recorded with the watch on the left lower abdomen and the right index finger on the crown, Einthoven III was recorded with the watch on the left lower abdomen and the left index finger on the crown. Wilson-like chest leads were recorded corresponding to the locations of V1 (Wr), V4 (Wm) and V6 (Wl) in the standard 12-lead ECG. Wr was recorded in the fourth intercostal space right parasternal, Wm was recorded in the fifth intercostal space on the midclavicular line, and Wl was recorded in the fifth intercostal space in left midaxillary line. For all Wilson-like chest lead recordings, the smartwatch was placed on the described three locations on the chest, the right index finger was placed on the crown and the left hand encompassed the right wrist. Both hands and forearms also had contact to the chest. Three experienced cardiologists were independently asked to allocate three bipolar limb smartwatch ECGs to Einthoven I–III leads, and three smartwatch Wilson-like chest ECGs (Wr, Wm, Wl) to V1, V4 and V6 in the standard 12-lead ECG for each subject. Results: All 300 smartwatch ECGs showed a signal quality useable for diagnostics with 281 ECGs of good signal quality (143 limb lead ECGs (95%), 138 chest lead ECGs (92%). Nineteen ECGs had a moderate signal quality (7 limb lead ECGs (5%), 12 chest lead ECGs (8%)). One-hundred percent of all Einthoven and 92% of all Wilson-like smartwatch ECGs were allocated correctly to corresponding leads from 12-lead ECG. Forty-six subjects (92%) were assigned correctly by all cardiologists. Allocation errors were due to similar morphologies and amplitudes in at least two of the three recorded Wilson-like leads. Despite recording with a bipolar smartwatch device, morphology of all six leads was identical to standard 12-lead ECG. In two patients with acute anterior myocardial infarction, all three cardiologists recognized the ST-elevations in Wilson-like leads and assumed an occluded left anterior descending coronary artery correctly. Conclusion: Consecutive recording of six single-lead ECGs including Einthoven and Wilson-like leads by a smartwatch is feasible with good ECG signal quality. Thus, this simulated six-lead smartwatch ECG may be useable for the detection of cardiac diseases necessitating more than one ECG lead like myocardial ischemia or more complex cardia arrhythmias. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrocardiogram (ECG); smartwatch; Apple Watch; Einthoven; Wilson; six-lead ECG; multichannel ECG electrocardiogram (ECG); smartwatch; Apple Watch; Einthoven; Wilson; six-lead ECG; multichannel ECG
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Samol, A.; Bischof, K.; Luani, B.; Pascut, D.; Wiemer, M.; Kaese, S. Single-Lead ECG Recordings Including Einthoven and Wilson Leads by a Smartwatch: A New Era of Patient Directed Early ECG Differential Diagnosis of Cardiac Diseases? Sensors 2019, 19, 4377.

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