P wave detector with PP rhythm tracking: evaluation in different arrhythmia contexts

François Portet
Physiological Measurement 2008, 29 (1): 141-55
Automatic detection of atrial activity (P waves) in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is a crucial task to diagnose the presence of arrhythmias. The P wave is difficult to detect and most of the approaches in the literature have been evaluated on normal sinus rhythms and rarely considered arrhythmia contexts other than atrial flutter and fibrillation. A novel knowledge-based P wave detector algorithm is presented. It is self-adaptive to the patient and able to deal with certain arrhythmias by tracking the PP rhythm. The detector has been tested on 12 records of the MIT-BIH arrhythmia database containing several ventricular and supra-ventricular arrhythmias. On the overall records, the detector demonstrates Se = 96.60% and Pr = 95.46%; for the normal sinus rhythm, it reaches Se = 97.76% and Pr = 96.80% and, in the case of Mobitz type II, it demonstrates Se = 72.79% and Pr = 99.51%. It also shows good performance for trigeminy and bigeminy, and outperforms some more sophisticated techniques. Although the results emphasize the difficulty of P wave detection in difficult arrhythmias (supra and ventricular tachycardias), it shows that domain knowledge can efficiently support signal processing techniques.

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