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A class of algorithms has been developed which detects QRS complexes in the electrocardiogram (ECG). The algorithms employ nonlinear transforms derived from multiplication of backward differences (MOBD). The algorithms are evaluated with the American Heart Association ECG database, and comparisons are made with the algorithms reported by Okada (1979) and by Hamilton and Tompkins (1986). The MOBD algorithms provide a good performance tradeoff between accuracy and response time, making this type of algorithm desirable for real-time microprocessor-based implementation.