The Computerized ECG: Friend and Foe.
Am J Med. 2018 Sep 08;:
Authors: Smulyan H
Computerized interpretation of the electrocardiogram (ECG) began in the 1950's when conversion of its analog signal to digital form became available. Since then automatic computer interpretations of the ECG have become routine, even at the point of care, by the addition of interpretive algorithms to portable ECG carts. Now, >100 million computerized ECG interpretations are recorded yearly in the USA. These interpretations have contributed to medical care by reducing physician reading time and accurately interpreting most normal ECG's. But errors do occur. The computer cannot be held responsible for misinterpretations due to recording errors i.e. muscle artifacts or lead reversal. But in many abnormal ECGs, the computer makes its own errors - sometimes critical - in its incorrect detection of arrhythmias, pacemakers and myocardial infarctions. These errors require that all computerized statements be over read by trained physicians who have the advantage of clinical context, unavailable to the computer. Together, the computer and over readers now provide the most accurate ECG interpretations available.
PMID: 30205084 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]