A method and system are provided for monitoring electrocardiographic signals and detecting a pathological cardiac arrhythmia, such as ventricular tachycardia wherein the zero crossings of the first derivative of a reference template (i.e. reference waveform) are utilized to separate or partition both the template and each subsequent electrocardiographic signal being monitored into first and second sets of identifiable partitions. Each zero crossing is a boundary between adjacent partitions. Initially, the reference template is generated by acquiring a first set of wavefrom data representing a known good electrocardiographic signal. Identifiable partitions of the first set of data are then matched with corresponding identifiable partitions of the second set of data to obtain a performance measure signal. In one embodiment, the area beneath the derivative in each partition of the analyzed waveform is computed and compared (i.e. matched) to the corresponding area of the template. Preferably, a plurality of electrocardiographic signals are analyzed by utilizing the template and a plurality of performance measure signals are obtained. Finally, a therapy signal is provided as a function of the plurality of performance measure signals in the event of a pathological cardiac arrhythmia, such as ventricular tachycardia.