Electrocardiogram or ECG is a technique were a person’s heart rate is measured by using the electrical activity of the heart. It is something that has been in use for over 100 years and the ECG electrical signal is one of the most iconic lines in the field of signal recording.
The past few years have seen a proverbial explosion in the field of ECG devices and wearables. From smart watches to heart rate belts, to patches which monitor users for weeks at a time. To stand out these days, an ECG monitor needs to bring significant added value. This value can come from things like additional parameters, combining ECG measurements with temperature, heart rate variability, even motion sensors to things like AI algorithms that help interpret the data for users.
When it comes to ECG electrodes, there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind when it comes to the design and selection of materials.
The position the electrode on the body of the subject is always key factor when designing it. For ECG electrodes this position is largely pre-determined, to get a good signal from the heart, the electrode should be ideally be positioned close to it.
The chest area is not the easiest place to have an electrode. Human skin is hardly ever static and not only bends but stretches as well. This means that any electrode or patch placed on the skin in the chest area will be subjected to a lot of stress, which can cause it to detach prematurely. There is always the possibility of increasing the strength of the adhesive, but this tends to have negative effects on patients with sensitive skin. The more common solution is to use stretchable materials such as TPU or fabrics, which conform to the skin and move with it.
At Screentec we have a lot of experience in this field, so we know what materials to use and what design changes to make when it comes to ECG electrode patches. We have also successfully integrated different sensors within ECG patches (such as heat, HRV and SpO2) to give even more data on the subject.