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Noninvasive ECG as a Tool for Predicting Termination of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation

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5 Author(s)

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and entails an increased risk of thromboembolic events. Prediction of the termination of an AF episode, based on noninvasive techniques, can benefit patients, doctors and health systems. The method described in this paper is based on two-lead surface electrocardiograms (ECGs): 1-min ECG recordings of AF episodes including N-type (not terminating within an hour after the end of the record), S-type (terminating 1 min after the end of the record) and T-type (terminating immediately after the end of the record). These records are organised into three learning sets (N, S and T) and two test sets (A and B). Starting from these ECGs, the atrial and ventricular activities were separated using beat classification and class averaged beat subtraction, followed by the evaluation of seven parameters representing atrial or ventricular activity. Stepwise discriminant analysis selected the set including dominant atrial frequency (DAF, index of atrial activity) and average HR (HRmean, index of ventricular activity) as optimal for discrimination between N/T-type episodes. The linear classifier, estimated on the 20 cases of the N and T learning sets, provided a performance of 90% on the 30 cases of a test set for the N/T-type discrimination. The same classifier led to correct classification in 89% of the 46 cases for N/S-type discrimination. The method has shown good results and seems to be suitable for clinical application, although a larger dataset would be very useful for improvement and validation of the algorithms and the development of an earlier predictor of paroxysmal AF spontaneous termination time.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 8 )