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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2018 Feb 28. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2018.2810508. [Epub ahead of print]

Model-based Assessment of f-Wave Signal Quality in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.



The detection and analysis of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the ECG is greatly influenced by signal quality. The present study proposes and evaluates a model-based f-wave signal quality index (SQI), denoted S, for use in the QRST-cancelled ECG signal.


S is computed using a harmonic f-wave model, allowing for variation in frequency and amplitude. The properties of S are evaluated on both f-waves and P-waves using 378 12-lead ECGs, 1875 single-lead ECGs, and simulated signals.


S decreases monotonically when noise is added to f-wave signals, even for noise which overlaps spectrally with f-waves. Moreover, S is shown to be closely associated with the accuracy of AF frequency estimation, where S>0.3 implies accurate estimation. When S is used as a measure of f-wave presence, AF detection performance improves: the sensitivity increases from 97.0% to 98.1% and the specificity increases from 97.4% to 97.8% when compared to the reference detector.


The proposed SQI represents a novel approach to assessing f-wave signal quality, as well as to determining whether f-waves are present.


The use of S improves the detection of AF and benefits the analysis of noisy ECGs.


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