ECG Simulator

Everything You Need to Know About the ECG Simulator

Cardiovascular diseases are the primary reason for most deaths worldwide. Therefore, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) simulator is one of the most important diagnostic tools in the medical field. 

This device is useful in recording and analyzing the electrical signals produced in the heart for the treatment of cardiac diseases. The overall purpose of this device is to gather information about the status and structure of the heart.

The ECG simulator records the signals that mimic the electrical signals produced by the human cardiac system. These cardiogram simulators are essential for developing, testing, and designing many types of cardiac equipment.

In short, the EKG records signals of the human heart and helps uncover any conditions.

In this short piece of writing, the history of the ECG simulator, its uses, advantages, and different types of commercially available simulators will be discussed.

History of the Electrocardiogram and Cardiac Simulator

An ECG simulator is an essential tool used in electrocardiographic machines for maintenance, calibration, and repair. They can be used either during pre-production or in-service maintenance operations.

In 1895, the Dutch physician, Willem Einthoven, invented the first electrocardiogram for medical practices. He received the Nobel Prize in 1924 for his remarkable discovery of the electrocardiogram mechanism. 

The design of these simulators utilized instrumentation consisting of acquisition hardware and lab view software. One of these simulators consists of the EKG-V2 ECG amplifier and K8055 USB based experiment interface board. This system utilizes low power and low sampling frequency to represent signals accurately.

Then, the development of a very accurate simulator that uses MSP430 microcontrollers and its characteristics make it suitable for academic applications.

Also, a complete ECG simulator that processes signals using wavelet transforms based on the lab view, and it includes 12 leads to acquire cardiogram signals.

Web-based simulators also exist and produce signals corresponding to the heart condition, such as skillset.

There has been plenty of work done in this field, and still, some gaps in research/development allow researchers to develop more sophisticated versions of the ECG simulator.

Benefits of Using Cardiac Electrogram Simulators

The main advantage of using these simulators relates to the safety of human beings. As with any medical device that has human contact, during the design phase, thorough testing is done to prove they are safe and accurate before their use. Humans do not provide the necessary input signals to the ECG simulator during the test or design phases, so there is no need for safety tests before therapeutic use.

Another benefit of the ECG simulator is how it tests cardiac electrogram medical diagnostic algorithms to ensure it reveals the correct medical diagnosis of the heart's condition.

ECG Simulators Available on the Market and Their Specifications

There is a wide variety of cardiogram simulators available for medical professionals. All of them have one thing in common: they generate their waveforms. These tools create sine, triangle, and square waves (or a combination of these waves) and are employed to simulate the human heart waveform.

These simulators produce fixed signals that repeatedly run to produce a waveform, while human cardiac signals have no fixed form. 

The ECG simulator is produced by several significant players in the industry. Below is a detailed list of some models:

1. Dale EHS10  

Dale EHS10 has been discontinued, but it is an instrument that runs on a battery, specifically designed to test the performance of electrocardiograph equipment that includes patient monitors, electrocardiographs, and telemetry systems.

This ECG simulator performs 5-lead simulation. It can produce almost ten performance testing waveforms. The waveforms produced by the unit contain types of sine, square, and triangle waveforms that are different from waveforms produced by human beings.

Manufacturer specifications

  • Sine wave: 10, 60 and 100 Hz
  • Heart rate: 30, 60, 120, and 240 BPM
  • Triangle wave: 2.000 Hz
  • Square wave: 0.125 and 2.000 Hz
  • General: 5-lead simulation

2. NETECH MiniSim 1000

NETECH MiniSim 1000 is a patient simulator that can check multiple parameters, and it can also perform testing of the patient monitoring system, quickly and viably.

MiniSim 1000 simulates electrocardiogram, respiration, blood pressure arrhythmia, and temperature as well as performance waveform, which includes sine, square, pulse, and triangular wave.

An alkaline battery of 9-volts powers it, and its battery life is about 40 continuous hours.

Some of these simulators have optional pressure and temperature interface cables.

Waveforms by the unit are mathematically created based on sine, square, and triangle waves.

Moreover, it is easy to use and has a small size, large LCD, and tactile keypad.

Manufacturer specifications

  • ECG rate: 30, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300, 350 BPM
  • Model: MiniSim 100
  • Amplitude: 0.15 to 5Mv
  • General: ECG and Arrhythmia

3. DELTA 3000

Delta 3000 is a compact instrument that combines the testing features of defibrillator testers, 12-lead arrhythmia simulators, and pacemaker analyzer into one device. 

Its 12-lead ECG simulator includes 12 arrhythmias and sine, triangle, square performance waveforms. Waveforms generated by the unit are not like waveforms generated by human beings; they are simulated square, sine, and triangle waves. For instructions and measurements, this ECG simulator contains a large display.

Manufacturer specifications

  • ECG rate: 30, 60, 90, 120, 240
  • Performance: sine, square, triangle, and pulse
  • Waveform output: 12-lead simulation and high-level output

4. Ferronato- FC3D simulator

The Ferronato - FC3D simulator was designed for testing Holter records, electrocardiographs, QRS triggered devices, and electrocardiogram monitors. Its digitally produced waveform has high amplitude and high rate stability.

Waveform simulated by a unit is the normal synthetic cardiogram wave. This simulator's battery can run more than 300 hours, which means it has an excellent battery time. It has a low battery indicator.

Signals can be one, two, or three configurations depending on the terminal connection. The company also manufactures 12-lead simulations with almost the same features.

Manufacturer specifications

  • Battery life: very long
  • Low battery indicator available
  • Small, sturdy and lightweight 

5. Multi pro-2000

Multi pro-2000 is a compact, portable, fully-featured ECG simulator designed to test the electrical safety of medical devices.

It can save 5000 test records in it, and these records can be uploaded into the computer for storage by using software or for printing.

Waveforms square, triangle, and sine are present with 14 frequencies and 13 amplitudes for performance testing.

Multi pro-2000 electrical safety analyzer is an overall lightweight and versatile instrument that can give electrical safety testing in the house as well as in the biomedical field.

This simulator also generates its waveform that is different from the waveform produced by human beings.

Manufacturer specifications

  • Performance waveforms: square, triangle, and sine
  • Waveform output: 12-lead normal sinus rhythm and pulse
  • Display: 2 lines, 48 characters

Uses of ECG Monitor

The electrocardiogram monitor continuously produces the heart's waveform and steadily analyzes running signal patterns. The electrocardiogram examines the series of heartbeat signals, as one heart cycle is not enough to reveal the whole heart condition. 

The cardiac electrogram can provide complete information about the patient's previous heart attacks, heart rhythm, heart muscle thickness, and issues related to the conduction of electrical signals from one part of the heart to another.

1. Expose hidden heart diseases:

The cardiac stress test performed is to reveal unknown heart issues. Some heart diseases reveal minimal symptoms like coronary artery blockage, but this test exposes them as well.

In this test, doing cycling exercise stresses out a patient's heart. During this test, the heart rhythm of the patient is displayed continuously on the monitor screen. This lets the physicians know about the patient's heart rate, irregular rhythm, and cardiogram changes.

2. Cardiac arrhythmias:

Arrhythmias is a term used for any disturbance in heart rhythm. Typically, the generation of rhythm is by a sinoatrial node, and the sinoatrial nodal pacemaker controls it. Normal rhythms are regular, have minimum cyclical fluctuation, but in case of arrhythmias, the pace becomes irregular, sometimes too fast, and sometimes too slow.

Ventricular tachycardia (heartbeat fast) is a severe condition that can lead to heart failure or even death.

Arrhythmia diagnosis through an electrocardiogram monitor includes several steps. In step one, physicians find out the history of the patient. In the next step, they identify and note the exact positions of P-R interval, P wave, QRS complex, Q wave, Q-T complex on the electrocardiogram. After that, comes the calculation of the heart rate. Then in the next step, it determines whether the heart rhythm is regular or not. The diagnosis of arrhythmias uses complex signal processing algorithms written into the ECG simulator system.

Conclusion

The EKG, or ECG simulator,  mimics the signals produced by the human heart. They are used to design and test any equipment related to the cardiac system. There are many types of simulators available in the market, and they provide a significant advantage to a patient’s safety.