Recording of Bipolar Multichannel ECGs by a Smartwatch: Modern ECG Diagnostic 100 Years after Einthoven

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jun 30;19(13):2894. doi: 10.3390/s19132894.


Aims: Feasibility study of accurate three lead ECG recording (Einthoven I, II and III) using an Apple Watch Series 4. Methods: In 50 healthy subjects (18 male; age: 40 ± 12 years) without known cardiac disorders, a 12-lead ECG and three bipolar ECGs, corresponding to Einthoven leads I, II and III were recorded using an Apple Watch Series 4. Einthoven I was recorded with the watch on the left wrist and the right index finger on the crown, Einthoven II with the watch on the left lower abdomen and the right index finger on the crown, Einthoven III with the watch on the left lower abdomen and the left index finger on the crown. Four experienced cardiologists were independently asked to assign the watch ECGs to Einthoven leads from 12-lead ECG for each subject. Results: All watch ECGs showed an adequate signal quality with 134 ECGs of good (89%) and 16 of moderate signal quality (11%). Ninety-one percent of all watch ECGs were assigned correctly to corresponding leads from 12-lead ECG. Thirty-nine subjects (78%) were assigned correctly by all cardiologists. All assignment errors occurred in patients with similar morphologies and amplitudes in at least two of the three recorded leads. Erroneous assignment of all watch ECGs to leads from standard ECG occurred in no patient. Conclusion: Recording of Einthoven leads I-III by a smartwatch is accurate and highly comparable to standard ECG. This might contribute to an earlier detection of cardiac disorders, which are associated with repolarization abnormalities or arrhythmias.

Keywords: Einthoven; electrocardiogram (ECG); multichannel ECG; single-lead ECG; smartwatch.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged