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Makers of New EKG Device Say They Can Diagnose Heart Disease in 15 Minutes

Posted Apr 21 2010 12:00am

According to the womensheart.org website, a new type of EKG could identify someone with heart disease in just 15 minutes.  Premier Heart, a cardiac diagnostic system company, has invented “the enhanced computer ECG test” called Multifunction Cardiogram (MCG).  The MCG uses information from a standard EKG but analyzes output only from 2 of the usual 12 leads.  A special MCG machine performs multiple complex mathematical calculations from recording these 2 leads over a period of 82 seconds.  Womensheart.org says, “Abnormal expressions of these functions can assist physicians in the detection of coronary ischemia from very early to very late stages.”

A report is printed out within 15 minutes that gives a score between 0 and 20 based on how severe the heart blockages might be.  The website claims that the MCG can predict heart disease with 87% reliability.  Their clinical trials have been published in several medical journals such as Heart Disease in 2002 and multiple times in International Journal of Medical Sciences.  The machine is FDA-approved and the procedure is reportedly covered by some insurance companies as well as Medicare.

My first thought when reading about MCG was, “Why have I never heard of this before?”  The inventors say their product has been shown to be “superior to other common clinical techniques such as stress tests, nuclear perfusion imaging and CT angiography.”  Apparently though, the machine has only been for sale since 2007 and is primarily sold to primary care offices.  Maybe one day it will become widespread and many patients will be able to skip the pricey stress test and go straight to a cardiac catheterization.  It could potentially save some people a lot of money!


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