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Here Comes an ECG-on-a-chip Solution!

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Freescale Semiconductor and Monebo Technologies announced a partnership to deliver a comprehensive platform solution for medical equipment using electrocardiogram (ECG) technology.

The "ECG-on-a-chip" solution combines Monebo's Kinetic ECG software with Freescale's embedded processing technology to enable medical equipment manufacturers to develop easy-to-use ECG monitoring tools.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. An estimated 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2005, representing 30 percent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 7.6 million were due to heart attacks and 5.7 million were due to stroke. By 2015, an estimated 20 million people will die from cardiovascular disease every year, primarily from heart attacks and strokes.

Many of these deaths will occur with no previous symptoms of cardiovascular disease. ECG monitors are vital tools used by healthcare providers to identify cardiac conditions and monitor a patient's health.

"Individuals affected by many forms of cardiovascular disease often go untreated, as they're either unaware they have the condition, or have misgivings about traditional treatments available," said Dr. Jose Fernandez Villasenor, global medical applications specialist at Freescale Semiconductor. "Breakthrough silicon and software technologies from companies like Freescale and Monebo are making it easier and more cost-effective to monitor heart patients using a critical and widely understood test, the ECG."

To help health care professionals assess cardiac parameters, Monebo Technologies has developed the Kinetic ECG algorithm, which enables signal processing and interpretation of the ECG waveform. The algorithm provides highly accurate QRS (Q wave, R wave and S wave) detection and feature extraction, beat classification, interval measurement and rhythm interpretation for up to 16 leads of captured ECG data.

Monebo's Kinetic software is designed to run on a broad range of Freescale processors and microcontrollers (MCUs). This versatile choice of processing platforms gives developers tremendous freedom of choice in addressing their ECG application needs, based on performance, operating power, integration and system cost.

"Based on our unique software algorithms and Freescale's processing platforms, we have the technology to provide detailed information to the clinician, enabling physicians to monitor heart patients from a remote location, and also analyze and interpret ECG data from any device, including those used for pharmaceutical clinical trials," said Dale Misczynski, president and CEO, Monebo Technologies.

Faster time to market for medical device designers

Today's medical device designers face the challenge of creating increasingly more complex products and bringing these products to market faster. The pairing of the Kinetic algorithm with Freescale MCUs enables designers to add advanced ECG monitoring functionality and get to market fast.

Freescale's embedded processors and MCUs contain the necessary integration to add innovative technology to next-generation medical devices, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance on the Kinetic algorithm streamlines end-device regulatory filings.

The Monebo software can be combined with key products in Freescale's MCU and embedded processor portfolio, including HCS08, ColdFire, PowerQUICC, i.MX, digital signal controller (DSC) devices. The overall benefits of this combined hardware/software solution include:

* Faster time-to-market: By streamlining FDA validation and reducing development time.
* Scalability: Medical device designers can develop optimal designs based on the unique capabilities of Freescale embedded processors and Monebo
* Lower development costs: The ECG-on-a-chip solution is thoroughly tested and validated and provides a "one-stop shop" approach for medical designers.

"Freescale believes consumers can monitor their health more effectively if they have access to medical devices that are embedded into their daily lives," said Henri Richard, senior vice president, chief sales and marketing officer, Freescale. "Freescale technology helps broaden the ECG medical device market by speeding time-to-market, offering best-in-class hardware and software, and reducing system cost. Ultimately, ECG-on-a-chip solutions will result in new generations of ECG products designed to help improve the quality of life for millions of people affected by cardiovascular disease."

The ECG-on-a-chip solution is ideal for a wide spectrum of applied technology, such as:

* Event recording: auto-trigger alarms to warn of heart problems and call center decision support.
* Bedside patient monitoring: real-time monitoring of patients with instant access to information by doctors.
* Pharma: interval measurements for clinical trials or monitoring and adjusting patient dosage of medicine.
* Monitors to aid in cardiac rehabilitation.
* Home medical: portable devices to monitor patients from home.
* Health and fitness: equipment to monitor heart health and optimize workouts.


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