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Device to diagnose medical conditions from ECG data in real time

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (Hyderabad) have developed a low-power device that can monitor electrocardiogram (ECG) and alert patients and doctors in real-time about the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Cardiovascular Diseases top the list of public health concerns compared to other diseases and have almost become the primary cause of human deaths, as per a survey of the World Health Organization (WHO). The main causes include changings trend in lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, tobacco usage, low fruit, and vegetable intake and lack of physical activity and a lot of stress.

These factors necessitate developing a personalized CVD monitoring device powered by battery backup and with a very low form factor to achieve unobtrusiveness that works under the emerging cyber-physical system setup.

This area was researched by a team comprising Mr. Vemishetty Naresh. Ph.D. Research Scholar, Advanced Embedded Systems and IC Design Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Amit Acharyya, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering.

As a proof of concept demonstration, the researchers have taken healthy and various unhealthy cases from the Physionet database to validate the proposed method. Their research has been published recently in the peer-reviewed international journal Scientific Reports, online open access, scientific journal published by prestigious Nature Research.

Speaking about the importance of this research, Dr. Amit Acharyya, said, “CVD is one of the deadliest diseases and irrespective of the economy of the country people are getting affected by it. It is manifested in different forms necessitating the early diagnosis, therapy, and prognosis. Hence the proposed work on the classification is going to be of immense help for the society.”

In addition, they also worked on developing different classification techniques and integrating them to make a generic algorithm. A novel System-On-Chip (SoC) architecture is developed in a low complex way by resource sharing concept for the CVD automation. Thus the whole system can cover various ECG abnormalities and finally come up with the prototype board which looks similar to as a smartphone at the patient end.

Speaking about their plans to take this research to benefit the society at large, Mr. Vemishetty Naresh said: “There was an exponential increment in human mortality rate, due to the delayed diagnosis, lack of proper distribution of health care facilities and prognosis centers in the vicinity. There is a need of a robust automated device for the early detection of the vital abnormal ECG signals in chronic CVD patients.”

Access to CVD care in India is relatively poor due to the fact that the primary health care system in India has largely been focused towards the management of communicable diseases, maternal and child health care. Considering the statistics of CVD deaths, the integration of CVD preventive care in the primary healthcare centers in India requires special attention, with a need for innovative models in health promotion.

Cardiovascular diseases healthcare monitoring systems have gained significant importance in recent years owing to their tremendous challenge for portable personal health analysis. With the consideration of portable remote monitoring, it is necessary to develop the remote CVD device having low form factor, consuming minimal power for the prolonged battery life and the device should be reliable enough to extract the significant clinical features for the cardiovascular diseases classification and prediction at an affordable cost.

This work was partly supported by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India under the ‘Internet of Things (IoT) Research of Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (ICPS) Programme,’ with the Project entitled ‘IOT Based Holistic Prevention and Prediction of CVD (i-PREACT).’

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