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University of sharjah College of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Digital Signal Processing (Fall 2011)

Introduction about ECG QRS ECG cycle ECG analysis ECG processing Pre-processing of ECG signals

Baseline wandering Power line interference


What is ECG ? It is a technique of recording bioelectric currents generated by the heart which allows the doctors to evaluate the patients heart conditions for further diagnosis. Those bioelectric currents for recording ECG samples are sensed by several electrodes, known as leads. What is the objective of processing ECG signals? The objective of ECG signal processing is the improvement of measurement accuracy and the extraction of information not readily available from the signal through visual assessment. Usually the signal is corrupted by different types of noise.

The PQRST complex is a name for the combination of three of the graphical deflections seen on a typical electrocardiogram (ECG).

Figure 1: A typical one-cycle ECG tracing

Figure 2 ECG rhythm

ECG analysis can be concerning ECG interpretation stress testing intensive care monitoring and more. There are basic set of algorithms for the signals with respect to : the different types of noises detection of heartbeats extraction of ECG basic measurements

1. 2.

ECG signal processing can be roughly divided into two stages by functionality: Pre-processing :-removes or suppresses noise from the raw ECG signal Feature extraction:-extracts diagnostic information from the ECG signal.

ECG Recording

Baseline wandering removal

Wideband noise suppression

Preprocessed ECG Data

Features Extraction

Figure 3 ECG processing

Pre-processing ECG signals helps you remove contaminants from the ECG signals.

ECG contaminants can be classified into the following categories: baseline wandering power line interference electrode pop or contact noise patientelectrode motion electromyography (EMG) noise
Among these noises, the power line interference and the baseline wandering are the most significant and can strongly affect ECG signal analysis. Except for these two noises, other noises may be wideband.

In pre-processing , filtering techniques are primarily used. When filtering any biomedical signal, care should be taken not to alter the desired information in any way .

Removing Baseline Wandering

Baseline wandering usually comes from respiration at frequencies wandering between 0.15 and 0.3 Hz, and you can suppress it by a high pass digital filter. Removal of baseline wander is required in order to minimize changes in beat morphology that do not have cardiac origin.

The design of a linear, time-invariant, high pass filter for removal of baseline wander involves several factors like:
Choice of filter cut off frequency :- chosen so that the clinical information in the ECG signal remains undistorted. Phase response characteristic:-linear phase filter is desirable in order to avoid phase distortion that can alter various relationships in the cardiac cycle



Figure 3 :Illustrates Baseline wandering showing lowfrequency ,high-bandwidth components

Linear phase response can be obtained with finite impulse response(FIR), but the order needed will easily grow very high. However ,complexity can be reduced.

Due to electromagnetic fields from power lines which can cause 50/60 Hz sinusoidal interference. Such noise can cause problems interpreting lowamplitude waveforms and false waveforms can be introduced. Naturally precautions should be taken to keep power lines as far as possible or shield and ground them, but this is not always possible

A very simple approach to filtering power line interference is to create a filter defined by a complex-conjugated pair of zeros that lie on the unit circle at the interfering frequency 0 This notch will of course also attenuate ECG waveforms constituted by frequencies close to 0 The filter can be improved by adding a pair of complex-conjugated poles positioned at the same angle as the zeros, but at a radius. The radius then determines the notch bandwith. However,another problem arises; this causes increased transient response time, resulting in a ringing after the transient

Figure Pole-zero diagram for second-order IIR filters with idential locations of zeros, but with radiuses of 0.75 and 0.95

Figure Ringing :-unwanted oscillations of a signal

More sophisticated filters can be constructed for, for example a narrower notch
However, increased frequency resolution can cause decreased resolution in time domain, meaning that it is not possible to design a linear time-invariant filter to remove the noise without causing ringing.

ECG is essential to get accurate readings from the signals produced by hearts contract and relaxation rhythms which help the doctor is evaluating hearts conditions ECG processing involves two stages:


Information extraction

Baseline wandering and power line interference affect the ECG signal the most contaminations to filter.

Thank you

http://www.dspguide.com/ch19/4.htm http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/i d/6349

http://www.ijcaonline.org/icwet/number 5/BM254.pdf