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Conventional QT Variability Measurement vs. Template Matching Techniques: Comparison of Performance Using Simulated and Real ECG
Published: Monday, July 30, 2012
Author: Mathias Baumert et al.

by Mathias Baumert, Vito Starc, Alberto Porta

Increased beat-to-beat variability in the QT interval (QTV) of ECG has been associated with increased risk for sudden cardiac death, but its measurement is technically challenging and currently not standardized. The aim of this study was to investigate the performance of commonly used beat-to-beat QT interval measurement algorithms. Three different methods (conventional, template stretching and template time shifting) were subjected to simulated data featuring typical ECG recording issues (broadband noise, baseline wander, amplitude modulation) and real short-term ECG of patients before and after infusion of sotalol, a QT interval prolonging drug. Among the three algorithms, the conventional algorithm was most susceptible to noise whereas the template time shifting algorithm showed superior overall performance on simulated and real ECG. None of the algorithms was able to detect increased beat-to-beat QT interval variability after sotalol infusion despite marked prolongation of the average QT interval. The QTV estimates of all three algorithms were inversely correlated with the amplitude of the T wave. In conclusion, template matching algorithms, in particular the time shifting algorithm, are recommended for beat-to-beat variability measurement of QT interval in body surface ECG. Recording noise, T wave amplitude and the beat-rejection strategy are important factors of QTV measurement and require further investigation.