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Detection of heart rate and rhythm with a smartphone-based electrocardiograph versus a reference standard electrocardiograph in dogs and cats

Marc S. Kraus DVM1, Anna R. Gelzer Dr med vet, PhD2, and Mark Rishniw BVSc, PhD3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the diagnostic utility of ECGs acquired with a smartphone-based device, compared with reference 6-lead ECGs, for identification of heart rate and rhythm in dogs and cats.

DESIGN Prospective study.

ANIMALS 51 client-owned dogs and 27 client-owned cats.

PROCEDURES Patients examined by a small animal referral cardiology service between April 2012 and January 2013 were enrolled consecutively. In each patient, a 30-second ECG was simultaneously acquired with a smartphone-based device (a bipolar, single-lead recorder coupled to a smartphone with an ECG application) and a standard 6-lead ECG machine. Recordings were evaluated by 3 board-certified cardiologists, and intra- and interobserver agreement were evaluated for both rhythm diagnosis and QRS polarity identification.

RESULTS Values for instantaneous and mean heart rates for the smartphone-acquired and reference ECGs were within 1 beat of each other when mean heart rates were calculated. Intraobserver agreement for rhythm assessment was very high, with maximum disagreement for any observer for only 2 of 51 dogs and only 4 of 27 cats. There was minimal disagreement in the polarity of depolarization between the smartphone-acquired and reference ECGs in dogs but frequent disagreement in cats. Interobserver agreement for smartphone-acquired ECGs was similar to that for reference ECGs. with all 3 observers agreeing on the rhythm analysis and minimal disagreement on polarity.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that ECGs acquired with the smartphone-based device accurately identified heart rate and rhythm in dogs and cats. Thus, the device may allow veterinarians to evaluate and manage cardiac arrhythmias relatively inexpensively at the cage side and could also allow clinicians to rapidly share information via email for further consultation, potentially enhancing patient care.

Contributor Notes

Drs. Kraus and Gelzer's present address is Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Address correspondence to Dr. Kraus (mskraus@vet.upenn.edu).