The innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a new method and device for specialized digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) and reconstruction of multichannel electrocardiograms (ECGs), including 12-lead ECGs. Current devices do not have the functionality that allows for the transmission of stored digital ECG data collected from one manufacturer’s ECG machine to another for an automated second opinion. With this technology, the physician has the opportunity to compare results by transferring the ECG data to another ECG machine — regardless of location — when a patient’s results are difficult to interpret for a second opinion. The technology also allows for the use of less expensive 12-lead ECG front ends or analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) hardware that is advantageous when in remote locations or with patients who are mobile during research studies. The digital-to-analog transformation and reconstruction of ECG data technology is available for licensing.
The technology uses an algebraically optimized hardware configuration and software format that recreates the presence of a connected patient when the patient is no longer actually present. This simplified method makes it possible to transmit stored digital ECG data collected on one machine into another for an automated second opinion. Along with this functionality, the technology would make it possible to share the data collected for difficult-to-interpret 12-lead ECGs and rhythms with others in different locations.
The device allows for very inexpensive ECG hardware front ends to be utilized for data collection since the digital data obtained will always be accurately convertible back to analog for fuller analysis at any central ECG receiving station. This capability would be useful for several situations, such as patients being monitored for heart conditions at home, student athletes participating in ECG screening programs, and individuals in underdeveloped countries or remote areas requiring screening. The NASA-developed technology would be useful in collecting ECG data in environments such as military mobile units, oil platforms, and mountaineering.