A Contactless Sensor for Pacemaker Pulse Detection: Design Hints and Performance Assessment

Emilio Andreozzi, Gaetano D Gargiulo, Antonio Fratini, Daniele Esposito, Paolo Bifulco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuous monitoring of pacemaker activity can provide valuable information to improve patients' follow-up. Concise information is stored in some types of pacemakers, whereas ECG can provide more detailed information, but requires electrodes and cannot be used for continuous monitoring. This study highlights the possibility of a continuous monitoring of pacemaker pulses by sensing magnetic field variations due to the current pulses. This can be achieved by means of a sensor coil positioned near the patient's thorax without any need for physical contact. A simplified model of coil response to pacemaker pulses is presented in this paper, along with circuits suitable for pulse detection. In vitro tests were carried out using real pacemakers immersed in saline solution; experimental data were used to assess the accuracy of the model and to evaluate the sensor performance. It was found that the coil signal amplitude decreases with increasing distance from the pacemaker lead wire. The sensor was able to easily perform pacemaker spike detection up to a distance of 12 cm from the pacemaker leads. The stimulation rate can be measured in real time with high accuracy. Since any electromagnetic pulse triggers the same coil response, EMI may corrupt sensor measurements and thus should be discriminated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2715
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access
article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


  • pacemaker pulse
  • coil sensor
  • pacing monitor
  • personal healthcare device
  • pervasive patient monitoring


Dive into the research topics of 'A Contactless Sensor for Pacemaker Pulse Detection: Design Hints and Performance Assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this