For people with normal, regular (sinus) heart rhythm, the interval between heart beats is relatively constant. However, many others experience irregular heartbeat rates, and the time interval between beats varies. There can be many causes of irregular heartbeat, and it is useful to be able to monitor the degree of irregularity under various conditions, and sometimes helpful to look for patterns in the rhythm.
Using open-source hardware and software, we have built a heartbeat monitor that plots the statistics of the heart inter-beat interval (IBI) that shows the degree of irregularity and allows listening to a speeded-up replica of the heart rhythm to detect rhythmic patterns.
Examples of IBI plots for normal and arrhythmic heart beats are shown at the right. The inter-beat intervals for 100 beats can be displayed, and the corresponding rhythm be played at 8X speed through an ear phone. These data allow a person with arrhythmia to investigate the effect of diet, medication, sleep, exercise, and other factors on heart rhythm.
The details of the hardware design and source code for the Arduino microcontroller and Processing display program used with the monitor are available on our Downloads page.
Inter-beat interval plot for arrhythmic heart beat.