Prospective Blinded Evaluation of Smartphone-based ECG for Differentiation of Supraventricular Tachycardia from Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia

Introduction

Supraventricular tachycardias (SVT) are often difficult to document due to their intermittent, short-lasting nature. Smartphone-based one-lead ECG monitors (sECG) were initially developed for the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation. No data have been published regarding their potential role in differentiating inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) from regular SVT. If cardiologists could distinguish IST from SVT in sECG, economic health care burden might be significantly reduced.

Methods

We prospectively recruited 75 consecutive patients with known SVT undergoing an EP study. In all patients, four ECG were recorded: a sECG during SVT and during sinus tachycardia and respective 12-lead ECG. Two experienced electrophysiologists were blinded to the diagnoses and separately evaluated all ECG.

Results

Three hundred individual ECG were recorded in 75 patients (47 female, age 50 ± 18 years, BMI 26 ± 5 kg/m2, 60 AVNRT, 15 AVRT). The electrophysiologists’ blinded interpretation of sECG recordings showed a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 91% for the detection of SVT (interobserver agreement κ = 0.76). In high-quality sECG recordings (68%), sensitivity rose to 95% with a specificity of 92% (interobserver agreement of κ = 0.91). Specificity increased to 96% when both electrophysiologists agreed on the diagnosis. Respective 12-lead ECG had a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 98% for the detection of SVT.

Conclusion

A smartphone-based one-lead ECG monitor allows for differentiation of SVT from IST in about 90% of cases. These results should encourage cardiologists to integrate wearables into clinical practice, possibly reducing time to definitive diagnosis of an arrhythmia and unnecessary EP procedures. A smartphone-based one lead ECG device (panel A) can be used reliably to differentiate supraventricular tachycardia (panel B) from inappropriate sinus tachycardia when compared to a simultaneously conducted gold-standard electrophysiology study (panels C, D).