Characterising an ECG signal using statistical modelling: a feasibility study

Timothy Alexis Bodisco, Jason D'Netto, Neil Kelson, Jasmine Banks, Ross Hayward, Tony Parker


For clinical use, in electrocardiogram (ECG) signal analysis it is important to detect not only the centre of the P wave, the QRS complex and the T wave, but also the time intervals, such as the ST segment. Much research focused entirely on qrs complex detection, via methods such as wavelet transforms, spline fitting and neural networks. However, drawbacks include the false classification of a severe noise spike as a QRS complex, possibly requiring manual editing, or the omission of information contained in other regions of the ECG signal. While some attempts were made to develop algorithms to detect additional signal characteristics, such as P and T waves, the reported success rates are subject to change from person-to-person and beat-to-beat. To address this variability we propose the use of Markov-chain Monte Carlo statistical modelling to extract the key features of an ECG signal and we report on a feasibility study to investigate the utility of the approach. The modelling approach is examined with reference to a realistic computer generated ECG signal, where details such as wave morphology and noise levels are variable.

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ECG; Statistical Modelling; MCMC

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