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Background Atrial fibrillation (AF) increases thromboembolism and stroke risk; this can be reduced by oral anticoagulation, but only if AF is detected. A portable, point-of-care device, capable of accurately detecting and identifying AF, could reduce workload and diagnostic delay by minimizing need for follow-up 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECGs). Objective To assess the diagnostic performance of the Plessey imPulse lead I ECG device compared with a 12-lead ECG in detecting AF. Methods Cross-sectional diagnostic accuracy study. Participants underwent simultaneous 12-lead ECG and imPulse device recordings. The imPulse device reports AF to be “probable,” “possible,” “unlikely,” or “uncontrolled AF unlikely.” imPulse and ECG reference results were cross-tabulated; sensitivity, specificity, positive/negative predictive values, and positive/negative likelihood ratios with 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated based on different imPulse device report categorizations and heart rate subgroups. Results A total of 217 participants were recruited (mean age 70.2 [standard deviation 12.7]), 56% male, 57% outpatients, 43% inpatients) and 199 were included in analyses. AF was diagnosed on ECG for 41 of 199 (20.6%) participants and reported by imPulse as possible, probable, or uncontrolled AF unlikely present for 49 of 199 (24.6%). Sensitivity and specificity for imPulse detection of possible, probable, or uncontrolled AF unlikely vs unlikely, compared with ECG, were 80.5% (95% CI, 65.1%–91.2%) and 89.9% (84.1%–94.1%), respectively. When probable or uncontrolled AF unlikely were compared vs possible or unlikely AF, sensitivity and specificity were 63.4% (46.9%–77.9%) and 98.1% (94.6%–99.6%), respectively. Conclusion The imPulse device has moderate sensitivity and good specificity compared with ECG AF detection in a hospital setting.

More information Original publication



Journal article


Cardiovascular Digital Health Journal


Cardiovascular Digital Health Journal; VOLUME 3, ISSUE 4, P171-178, AUGUST 01, 2022


Elsevier Inc

Publication Date





Sinead McDonagh received NIHR SPCR seedcorn and PDFfunding


Atrial fibrillation, Screening, Arrhythmia, Sensitivity, Specificity, Diagnostics