Abstract : The most characteristic wave set in ECG signals is the QRS complex. Automatic procedures to classify the QRS are very useful in the diagnosis of cardiac dysfunctions. Early detection and classification of QRS changes are important in real-time monitoring. ECG data compression is also important for storage and data transmission. An Adaptive Hermite Model Estimation System (AHMES) is presented for on-line beat-to-beat estimation of the features that describe the QRS complex with the Hermite model. The AHMES is based on the multiple-input adaptive linear combiner, using as inputs the succession of the QRS complexes and the Hermite functions, where a procedure has been incorporated to adaptively estimate a width related parameter b. The system allows an efficient real-time parameter extraction for classification and data compression. The performance of the AHMES is compared with that of direct feature estimation, studying the improvement in signal-to-noise ratio. In addition, the effect of misalignment at the QRS mark is shown to become a neglecting low-pass effect. The results allow the conditions in which the AHMES improves the direct estimate to be established. The application is shown, for subsequent classification, of the AHMES in extracting the QRS features of an ECG signal with the bigeminy phenomena. Another application is highlighted that helps wide ectopic beats detection using the width parameter b.