Validation of a portable ECG monitor for the diagnosis of arrhythmias in horses compared to a standard electrocardiograph
Electrocardiography (ECG) is a main diagnostic tool for diagnostics of rhythm disturbances. Since most pathological arrhythmias are only visible during movement and exercises the registration of exercising ECG becomes a mandatory diagnostic tool for monitoring of high-performance horses. Portable ECG monitor, developed together with specialists of National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” is an electrocardiograph with telemetric data transmission system and four electrodes providing six-lead real-time ECG recordings at rest and during exercise. The objective of current study was validation of portable ECG monitor for diagnostics of arrhythmias in horses compared to a standard electrocardiograph. With this aim the ECG was performed by both devices simultaneously on animals with normal rhythm and rhythm disturbances. The ECG traces were therefore analyzed and compared. 14 horses of Ukrainian riding, Friesian, and Arabian breeds were divided in two groups: experimental one with arrhythmias, and control one with normal rhythm. ECG was performed by both devices simultaneously during rest, exercise, and post-exercise period. Electrocardiographic parameters were measured manually using on-screen calipers. Obtained data was analyzed using GraphPad Prism software by linear regression method for continuous parameters (HR, duration of QRS complex, PR, and QT intervals, and amplitude of P and S waves). For nominal parameters (rhythm, excitability, and conduction disorders) the analysis of sensitivity and specificity was performed. A total of 196 ECG records were analysed. Electrocardiographic intervals had high correlation: for HR and PR interval the correlation coefficient amounted to 0.98, for QRS complex and QT interval – to 0.97, for P and S waves – to 0.96. Among detected rhythm disturbances were physiological (second degree AV block first Mobitz type and SA block) and pathological arrhythmias (SVT and SVPCs). The sensitivity and specificity for rhythm, excitability, and conduction disorders of the portable ECG monitor compared to a standard electrocardiograph was 100 %. The portable ECG monitor allows to easily perform ECG registration during rest and exercises and to detect arrhythmias and other ECG abnormalities with accuracy, compared to a standard electrocardiograph.
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