Digitizing ECG image: A new method and open-source software code

Julian D. Fortune, Natalie E. Coppa, Kazi T. Haq, Hetal Patel, Larisa G. Tereshchenko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    Background and Objective: We aimed to develop and validate an open-source code ECG-digitizing tool and assess agreements of ECG measurements across three types of median beats, comprised of digitally recorded simultaneous and asynchronous ECG leads and digitized asynchronous ECG leads. Methods: We used the data of clinical studies participants (n = 230; mean age 30±15 y; 25% female; 52% had the cardiovascular disease) with available both digitally recorded and printed on paper and then scanned ECGs, split into development (n = 150) and validation (n = 80) datasets. The agreement between ECG and VCG measurements on the digitally recorded time-coherent median beat, representative asynchronous digitized, and digitally recorded beats was assessed by Bland-Altman analysis. Results: The sample-per-sample comparison of digitally recorded and digitized signals showed a very high correlation (0.977), a small mean difference (9.3 µV), and root mean squared error (25.9 µV). Agreement between digitally recorded and digitized representative beat was high [area spatial ventricular gradient (SVG) elevation bias 2.5(95% limits of agreement [LOA] -7.9–13.0)°; precision 96.8%; inter-class correlation [ICC] 0.988; Lin's concordance coefficient ρc 0.97(95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95–0.98)]. Agreement between digitally recorded asynchronous and time-coherent median beats was moderate for area-based VCG metrics (spatial QRS-T angle bias 1.4(95%LOA -33.2–30.3)°; precision 94.8%; ICC 0.95; Lin's concordance coefficient ρc 0.90(95%CI 0.82–0.95)]. Conclusions: We developed and validated an open-source software tool for paper-ECG digitization. Asynchronous ECG leads are the primary source of disagreement in measurements on digitally recorded and digitized ECGs.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number106890
    JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
    StatePublished - Jun 2022


    • Digitization
    • ECG
    • ECG paper digital conversion
    • Paper ECG digitizing
    • Paper-to-digital conversion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Software
    • Health Informatics
    • Computer Science Applications


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