Design and Implementation of a Low Cost Wireless Ambulatory ECG Monitoring System for Deployment in Rural Communities
Keywords:electrocardiogram, ambulatory, ZigBee, LabVIEW, web interface
Due to the rising number of heart patients and the apparent need for more robust electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring of these patients, hospitals are increasingly investing in typical cloud technology or centralized hospital server based remote ECG monitoring systems. However, the deployment these systems in rural communities is limited due to the high cost factor. To counter this challenge, in this paper, we focus on the design and implementation of a low cost real time wireless ambulatory ECG monitoring system. The detected ECG signals are first filtered and amplified and then digitally converted by a microcontroller. The digitized ECG signals are then sent over a ZigBee wireless link to a gateway personal computer (PC) at patient’s premises. The received ECG data from the ZigBee connection is displayed in real time via the National Instruments (NI) Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench (LabVIEW) user interface on the PC for instant personalized evaluation of the ECG data. The ECG data can be saved on the PC and sent via email to a remote cardiologist or a clinician. Additionally, the gateway PC at patient’s end acts as web server for sharing patient’s data over the Internet. The remote off-site physician (medical staff in a hospital) can use a web browser on a PC, laptop or a mobile phone with Internet connection to access patient’s real time ECG trace for monitoring, expert review and diagnosis. It is shown that the system prototype allows users to acquire reliable ECG signals effectively and simply. The proposed ambulatory ECG system offers an alternative low cost deployment strategy and is especially suited for remote cardiac monitoring of patients in rural communities.
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