Algorithm for identifying and separating beats from arterial pulse recordsReport as inadecuate

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BioMedical Engineering OnLine

, 4:48

First Online: 11 August 2005Received: 02 March 2005Accepted: 11 August 2005


BackgroundThis project was designed as an epidemiological aid-selecting tool for a small country health center with the general objective of screening out possible coronary patients. Peripheral artery function can be non-invasively evaluated by impedance plethysmography. Changes in these vessels appear as good predictors of future coronary behavior. Impedance plethysmography detects volume variations after simple occlusive maneuvers that may show indicative modifications in arterial-venous responses. Averaging of a series of pulses is needed and this, in turn, requires proper determination of the beginning and end of each beat. Thus, the objective here is to describe an algorithm to identify and separate out beats from a plethysmographic record. A secondary objective was to compare the output given by human operators against the algorithm.

MethodsThe identification algorithm detected the beat-s onset and end on the basis of the maximum rising phase, the choice of possible ventricular systolic starting points considering cardiac frequency, and the adjustment of some tolerance values to optimize the behavior. Out of 800 patients in the study, 40 occlusive records supradiastolic- subsystolic were randomly selected without any preliminary diagnosis. Radial impedance plethysmographic pulse and standard ECG were recorded digitizing and storing the data. Cardiac frequency was estimated with the Power Density Function and, thereafter, the signal was derived twice, followed by binarization of the first derivative and rectification of the second derivative. The product of the two latter results led to a weighing signal from which the cycles- onsets and ends were established. Weighed and frequency filters are needed along with the pre-establishment of their respective tolerances. Out of the 40 records, 30 seconds strands were randomly chosen to be analyzed by the algorithm and by two operators. Sensitivity and accuracy were calculated by means of the true-false and positive-negative criteria. Synchronization ability was measured through the coefficient of variation and the median value of correlation for each patient. These parameters were assessed by means of Friedman-s ANOVA and Kendall Concordance test.

ResultsSensitivity was 97% and 91% for the two operators, respectively, while accuracy was cero for both of them. The synchronism variability analysis was significant p < 0.01 for the two statistics, showing that the algorithm produced the best result.

ConclusionThe proposed algorithm showed good performance as expressed by its high sensitivity. The correlation analysis demonstrated that, from the synchronism point of view, the algorithm performed the best detection. Patients with marked arrhythmic processes are not good candidates for this kind of analysis. At most, they would be singled out by the algorithm and, thereafter, to be checked by an operator.

Keywordssecond derivative beat detection limb impedance plethysmography patient screening preventive medicine Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1475-925X-4-48 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Ernesto F Treo - Myriam C Herrera - Max E Valentinuzzi


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