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A super stress test – thanks to Israel’s HyperQ

Posted By David Brinn On May 15, 2005 @ 11:00 pm In | No Comments

The HyperQ system enables early detection and reliable non-invasive diagnosis of heart diseases that result from coronary artery disease.Most Americans are familiar with the electrocardiogram (ECG) – the instrument that records the electrical activity of the cardiac muscle as it generates the stages of the cardiac cycle.

Deviations from the normal ECG provide a noninvasive tool for the diagnosis of cardiac abnormalities, and an ECG recorded during a physical stress test is widely used for the diagnosis of ischemic heart disease(IHD).

The leading cause of death in the developed world, IHD is the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is also called coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease.

But the ECG is far from perfect.

The sensitivity of the standard ECG, even during stress tests, is relatively poor, generally considered to be between 50% and 70%, and in some studies has been reported to be even lower. This means that 30-50% of all IHD patients are not detected by the standard ECG.

An Israeli company, BSP (Biological Signal Processing Ltd.), now has the solution for fine-tuning this important test. A world pioneer in the field of high-frequency ECG, BSP has developed superior ECG technology for detecting and monitoring ischemic heart diseases that accurately takes the guesswork out of the process.

Their HyperQ(TM) system – which last month received US FDA clearance – enables early detection and reliable non-invasive diagnosis of heart diseases that result from coronary artery disease. It enables detection of myocardial ischemia with its unique signal processing technology which allows for highly sensitive assessment and monitoring of cardiac conditions not detected by standard ECG analysis.

“We have the first clinical device to introduce high frequency analysis,” BSP founder and CEO Amir Beker told ISRAEL21c. “If you look at it on a graph, conventional ECGs are measured in millivolts – thousandths of a volt. Ours are measured in microvolts – millionths of a volt.

Beker, who has a PhD in medical physics, founded BSP in 2000, and is the inventor of patents in the field of biomedical signal processing.

“It’s an amazing fact, but there is no easy non-invasive and convenient tool for monitoring and diagnosing the ischemic status of the heart. You can only do it through the nuclear mapping of the cardiac muscle – which is semi-intrusive and expensive.

“The conventional ECG test has low sensitivity and is almost like flipping a coin. As many as 50% of patients who undergo an ECG have non-conclusive or incorrect diagnostic results,” he said.

The first two applications of the HyperQ technology are: Stress Test using standard stress protocols, and Rest ECG. According to Beker, the analysis is quick and accurate and portrays quantifiable results, allowing for an exact interpretation of the stress test results, avoiding unnecessary further investigation.

“The basic technology of BSP is intended to advance the analysis and signal processing of the ECG. Today the ECG is not a suitable tool for screening wide population to ischemic heart diseases,” he said. “We’ve tried to tackle this severe problem by introducing a system which utilizes the signal as it is recorded today and enables a higher sensitivity and resolution.”

Traditional ECG instrumentation records frequency range of 0 – 100 Hz. However, much evidence accumulated during recent years
indicates that higher frequency components of the signal contain valuable information for the detection of myocardial ischemia.

Published studies by Beker and Prof. Shimon Abboud, BSP’s chief scientist, have shown that the presence of ischemic pathologies in the heart is highly correlated with specific forms of energy decrease in the high frequency (HF) components of the QRS complex – the prominent part of the ECG signal – corresponding to the contraction of the heart.

The technology used for HyperQ detects and probes the high frequency components of standard ECG signals. BSP has also developed specialized tools for the analysis and diagnosis of the HyperQ signal, enabling highly sensitive assessment and monitoring of cardiac patients.

“The major revolution of the HyperQ is in the software and the algorithms that analyze the signals once they’re recorded. The bottom line being – we have a stress system ECG that presents a sophisticated analysis in a frequency ranges that are not in the conventional range of today, with results that are accurate and with a high diagnostic value,” said Beker.

According to Beker, the system has been validated in wide clinical studies – both in Israel and the US during tests in a West Virginia hospital – on more than 1400 patients. Now that the FDA has cleared the device, the next step, he says, is to get the HyperQ into American clinics and hospitals.

“The first implementation of the technology is a stand alone clinical system, including the treadmill, that can be installed in stress-test labs or clinics and serve also as a conventional ECG system – call it a complete system for a super stress test.

“But the technology can be integrated into other manufacturer’s systems – all you need to change is the algorithms and a slight changes in the hardware,” he said adding that future implementations will include patient monitoring devices, home-care units and integration of the technology into implantable defibrillators and pacemakers.

Beker is confident that BSP’s technology will soon become a standard component of ECG testing in the US. Which should be a relief to anyone who knows the anxiety of feeling a pain in their chest.


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