ECG Databases

Several databases of ECG recordings are generally available for evaluating ECG analyzers. They serve several important needs:

Standards EC38 and EC57 require the use of the following ECG databases:1

Each of these databases represents a very substantial effort by many workers; in particular, the AHA, MIT, and ESC databases each required more than five years of sustained effort by large teams of researchers and clinicians from many institutions. Nevertheless, it should be recognized that even these databases do not fully represent the variety of ``real-world'' ECGs observed in clinical practice. Although these databases permit standardized, quantitative, automated, and fully reproducible evaluations of analyzer performance, it is risky to extrapolate from the results of such evaluations to expectations of real-world performance. Such extrapolations can be particularly error-prone if the evaluation data were also used for development of the analysis algorithm, since the algorithm may have been (perhaps unintentionally) ``tuned'' to its training set. It should also be noted that the first four of the databases listed above were obtained from Holter ECG recordings; although the frequency response of the Holter recording technique is not usually a limiting factor in the performance of an ECG analyzer, it may tend to favor devices that are designed to analyze Holter recordings over devices that have been designed to analyze higher-fidelity input signals.

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Updated 8 March 2019