Validation of PC-based Sound Card With Biopac for Digitalization of ECG Recording in Short-term HRV Analysis

N Am J Med Sci. 2016 Jul;8(7):307-11. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.187150.


Background: Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is a simple and noninvasive technique capable of assessing autonomic nervous system modulation on heart rate (HR) in healthy as well as disease conditions. The aim of the present study was to compare (validate) the HRV using a temporal series of electrocardiograms (ECG) obtained by simple analog amplifier with PC-based sound card (audacity) and Biopac MP36 module.

Materials and methods: Based on the inclusion criteria, 120 healthy participants, including 72 males and 48 females, participated in the present study. Following standard protocol, 5-min ECG was recorded after 10 min of supine rest by Portable simple analog amplifier PC-based sound card as well as by Biopac module with surface electrodes in Leads II position simultaneously. All the ECG data was visually screened and was found to be free of ectopic beats and noise. RR intervals from both ECG recordings were analyzed separately in Kubios software. Short-term HRV indexes in both time and frequency domain were used.

Results: The unpaired Student's t-test and Pearson correlation coefficient test were used for the analysis using the R statistical software. No statistically significant differences were observed when comparing the values analyzed by means of the two devices for HRV. Correlation analysis revealed perfect positive correlation (r = 0.99, P < 0.001) between the values in time and frequency domain obtained by the devices.

Conclusion: On the basis of the results of the present study, we suggest that the calculation of HRV values in the time and frequency domains by RR series obtained from the PC-based sound card is probably as reliable as those obtained by the gold standard Biopac MP36.

Keywords: Audacity; ECG; autonomic nervous system; heart rate variability; sound card.