Comparison of electrocardiogram quality and clinical interpretations using prepositioned ECG electrodes and conventional individual electrodes

J Electrocardiol. Mar-Apr 2020;59:126-133. doi: 10.1016/j.jelectrocard.2020.02.005. Epub 2020 Feb 6.


Background: Efforts have been made to simplify and reduce technical errors, such as limb leads reversal and inaccurate chest leads placement, for the 12-lead ECG tests. We compared standard ECG using individual electrodes with a novel pre-positioned electrode system to determine equivalency.

Methods: Subjects were recruited from the Emergency Department and cardiac lab of an acute care hospital in Los Angeles. First, subjects underwent a conventional 12-lead ECG using Philips PageWriter (clinical ECG). A second ECG was then performed using a novel system containing pre-positioned electrodes and a compact recorder (study ECG). All ECGs were reviewed by 3 blinded, board-certified adult cardiologists using 14 pre-specified ECG diagnostic categories to determine if the interpretations of clinical ECG and study ECG of the same patient were "equivalent". Majority rule was applied when there were discrepant interpretations among the 3 cardiologists.

Results: One hundred subjects, ages 18 to 74 completed the study. With pre-positioned electrodes, the rate of "electrode fit" as judged by the research associates at the time of lead placement was 96.2%. We found that the study ECG system was equivalent (in clinical interpretation) to the clinical ECG system, with equivalency rate of 96% (95% confidence interval 92% to 100%) in "overall interpretation". The equivalence rate for the 14 ECG diagnostic categories ranged from 96% to 100%, with mean 99.2 ± 1.1%.

Conclusions: 12-lead ECGs performed using single-piece, pre-positioned electrodes are clinically equivalent to those performed using 10 individually placed conventional electrodes. With 4 sizes for adults, the single-piece electrodes can fit 96% of the study patients.

Keywords: ECG; Equivalence study; Pre-positioned electrodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Electrodes
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult