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A multi-step method with signal quality assessment and fine-tuning procedure to locate maternal and fetal QRS complexes from abdominal ECG recordings

Lookup NU author(s): Costanzo Di Maria


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Non-invasive monitoring of fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) plays an important role in detecting and diagnosing fetal diseases. This study aimed to develop a multi-step method for locating both maternal and fetal QRS complexes from abdominal ECG (aECG) recordings. The proposed method included four major steps: abdominal ECG pre-processing, maternal QRS complex locating, maternal ECG cancellation and fetal QRS complex locating. Signal quality assessment (SQA) and fine-tuning for maternal ECG (FTM) were implemented in the first and third steps, respectively. The method was then evaluated using 75 non-invasive 4-channel aECG recordings provided by the PhysioNet/Computing in Cardiology Challenge 2013. The F1 measure, which is a new index introduced by Behar et al (2013 Proc. Comput. Cardiol. 40 297-300), was used to assess the locating accuracy. The other two indices, mean squared error of heart rate (MSE_HR) between the fetal HR signals estimated from the reference and our method (MSE_HR in bpm(2)) and root mean squared difference between the corresponding fetal RR intervals (MSE_RR in ms) were also used to assess the locating accuracy. Overall, for the maternal QRS complex, the F-1 measure was 98.4% from the method without the implementation of SQA, and it was improved to 99.8% with SQA. For the fetal QRS complex, the F1 measure, MSE_HR and MSE_RR were 84.9%, 185.6 bpm(2) and 19.4 ms for the method without both SQA and FTM procedures. They were improved to 93.9%, 47.5 bpm(2) and 7.6 ms with both SQA and FTM procedures. These improvements were observed from each individual subject. It can be concluded that implementing both SQA and FTM procedures could achieve better performance for locating both maternal and fetal QRS complexes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Liu CY, Li P, Di Maria C, Zhao LN, Zhang HG, Chen ZQ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physiological Measurement

Year: 2014

Volume: 35

Issue: 8

Pages: 1665-1683

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 28/07/2014

Acceptance date: 17/06/2014

ISSN (print): 0967-3334

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6579

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing


DOI: 10.1088/0967-3334/35/8/1665


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Funder referenceFunder name
2012C23068Public Welfare Technology Project of Science Technology Department of Zhejiang Province
61201049National Natural Science Foundation of China
201303102Postdoctoral Innovation Foundation of Shandong Province in China
2013M530323China Postdoctoral Science Foundation
2013RCB008Zhejiang Province Medical Platform Program
BS2013DX029Excellent Young Scientist Awarded Foundation of Shandong Province in China