Computer analysis of monophasic action potentials: manual validation and clinically pertinent applications

M R Franz, P F Kirchhof, C L Fabritz, M Zabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Monophasic action potential (MAP) recordings are increasingly being used in a variety of clinical and experimental situations but their manual measurement is cumbersome, especially when hundreds or thousands of beats must be analyzed to monitor the exact time course of action potential duration (APD) changes following heart rate alterations, during surveillance of APD alternans, or during the onset and stabilization of Class III drug effects. To facilitate this task we developed a computer program that automates programmed electrical stimulation, digitizes at 1-kHz sampling frequency MAP recordings up to 8 channels simultaneously, analyzes all APDs at repolarization levels from 10%-90% in 10% decrements (APD10-90), and automatically outputs the analyzed numerical data into spreadsheets for graphical display or statistical analysis. To validate the computer algorithm, two independent observers manually analyzed 585 concurrent MAP recordings at a paper speed of 100 mm/s. Cycle length measurements by the computer were precise to 0.4 +/- 0.5 ms as compared to the computer determined paced cycle length. Computer measurements of APD20, 50, and 90 differed from manual measurements by 2.0 +/- 8.8 ms, 0.7 +/- 7.9 ms, and 0.2 +/- 8.5 ms, respectively, for observer 1; and by 12.2 +/- 8.3 ms, 5.8 +/- 7.5 ms, and 1.4 +/- 10.1 ms, respectively, for observer 2. Inter-observer variability (IOV) was 10.3 +/- 11.1 (APD20), 5.1 +/- 9.0 ms (APD50), and 1.2 +/- 7.8 ms (APD90), which was similar to computer/observer-2 differences and significantly greater (0.001) than computer/observer-1 differences. This indicates that the computer analysis was at least as precise as manual measurements when compared to IOV, and more precise when comparing computer/observer-1 differences to IOV. While providing equal or greater precision, computer-aided analysis of 100 MAP signals took approximately 1 minute while manual analysis of the same data set took between 2.5 and 4 hours. The pacing and analysis software was subsequently applied to experiments that mimic clinically pertinent examples of MAP recordings: (1) automatic generation, analysis, and graphical display of electrical restitution curves at multiple ventricular sites simultaneously; (2) evaluation of myocardial pharmacokinetics by monitoring the progression of Class III antiarrhythmic drug effects by continuous MAP recordings, and displaying differences in drug action between multiple sites; (3) depiction of the adaptation time course of APD to abrupt changes in paced cycle length; and (4) quantitative analysis of APD alternans during myocardial ischemia. The results show that our computerized algorithm greatly facilitates the generation of cardiac electrophysiological, and clinically important, data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1666-78
Number of pages13
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number9 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1995


  • Action Potentials
  • Algorithms
  • Analog-Digital Conversion
  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Data Display
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrocardiography
  • Heart
  • Heart Rate
  • Microcomputers
  • Myocardial Ischemia
  • Myocardium
  • Observer Variation
  • Rabbits
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Software
  • Software Validation
  • Ventricular Function


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