Real-Time Electrocardiogram Monitoring

Complete RTECG prototype device
Completed Real-Time Electrocardiogram Monitoring prototype device. Photo by Edward Sandor.

Bradley University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Fall 2016 to Spring 2017

By Nicholas Clark, Edward Sandor, and Calvin Walden

Advised by Dr. Yufeng Lu and Dr. In Soo Ahn


An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that occurs when the electrical signals controlling the heart's muscular contractions become malformed. Patients who suffer from these symptoms are often given a Holter monitor to wear, which records electrocardiogram (ECG) data. During a subsequent health care provider visit, the patient's ECG data is analyzed, and if an arrhythmia was successfully recorded, the underlying condition can be diagnosed.

This project aimed to develop a wearable medical device for real-time arrhythmia detection, which acquires ECG data through a three-lead ECG sensor. It performs ECG signal processing and immediately alerts the patient's health care provider of an arrhythmia via wireless messaging.

At the current stage of this project, a common form of arrhythmia known as premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are identified using the Pan-Tompkins and the wavelet-based Template-Matching algorithms. When three or more consecutive PVCs are detected, the device sends urgent report email to a patient’s health care provider. In the experimental study, the design has been successfully validated using benchmark records from the MIT-BIH arrhythmia database.

A low-cost digital signal processor evaluation kit, the Texas Instruments TMS320C5515 eZdsp USB stick, and an embedded Linux system, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, were chosen to be the hardware platform for this project. This study suggested a viable, low-complexity solution for real-time heart monitoring and arrhythmia detection.



Project Timeline

Week ofTasks
  • Implement initial Pan-Tompkins algorithm on choice platform
  • Begin interfacing board for embedded computer
  • Interface embedded computer with DSP
  • Refine Pan-Tompkins algorithm, add Template Matching algorithm
  • Trial wireless communication and SMS
  • Trial ECG data from MIT-BIH database
  • Refine wireless communication and SMS
  • Refine Pan-Tompkins and Template Matching algorithms
  • Trial ECG data from MIT-BIH database
  • Begin embedded computer serial communication
  • Begin real-time ECG testing
  • Add LCD and pushbutton interface to interfacing board
  • Begin UI development
  • Refine Pan-Tompkins and Template Matching algorithms
  • Continue real-time ECG testing
  • Continue UI development
  • Complete real-time ECG testing
  • Complete UI development
  • Progress Evaluation
  • Continue system testing and tuning
Spring Break
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Complete all lab work
  • Continue written deliverables
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Continue written deliverables
  • Update Student Scholarship Expo poster
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Finalize final report draft
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Final Report Draft (2017-04-10)
  • Finalize draft of presentation slides
  • Finalize Student Scholarship Expo poster (2017-04-10)
  • Event: Student Scholarship Expo (2017-04-11)
  • Oral Presentation Preparation (2017-04-13)
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Complete all written deliverables
  • Oral Presentation Preparation (2017-04-18)
  • Continue system testing and tuning
  • Event: Project demonstration
  • Event: Poster Presentation (2017-04-28)
  • Complete all lab work
  • Event: Presentation of project (2017-05-02)
  • Project Website Verification (2017-05-02)
  • Complete all written deliverables

Division of Work

Bolded name denotes primary contributor.