Patient Directed Recording of a Bipolar Three-Lead Electrocardiogram using a Smartwatch with ECG Function

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Cardiac arrhythmias and cardiovascular diseases are a major public health problem in developed countries. A major goal in preventive medicine is the reduction of cardiovascular death by early detection of atrial fibrillation (AF), which may cause stroke, or early detection of life-threatening myocardial ischemia in acute coronary syndrome. Detection of arrhythmia is often challenging if symptoms occur when patients have no chance for immediate electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnostic testing, or if the observation time period is short or an immediate visit to their doctor is not possible. Smartwatches and other wearable devices are able to record a single lead ECG recording, but a single lead ECG is often not sufficient for diagnosis of cardiovascular disorders. Even diagnosis of AF can be difficult with only information from a single lead bipolar ECG. Some smart devices use photoplethysmography for detection of cardiac rhythm, but this technique can only give indirect hints of the underlying cardiac rhythm, is prone to interferences, and cannot be used for detection of myocardial ischemia. A three-lead bipolar ECG like the Einthoven leads used in regular ECGs can add useful information concerning arrhythmia detection or even diagnosis of other cardiovascular diseases like ischemia. Therefore, we describe a protocol for the patient-directed recording of an Einthoven three-lead ECG using a smartwatch.