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In Biomedical engineering online

BACKGROUND : Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents the most common arrhythmia worldwide, related to increased risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism. It is critical to screen and diagnose AF for the benefits of better cardiovascular health in lifetime. The ECG-based AF detection, the gold standard in clinical care, has been restricted by the need to attach electrodes on the body surface. Recently, ballistocardiogram (BCG) has been investigated for AF diagnosis, which is an unobstructive and convenient technique to monitor heart activity in daily life. However, here is a lack of high-dimension representation and deep learning analysis of BCG.

METHOD : Therefore, this paper proposes an attention-based multi-scale features fusion method by using BCG signal. The 1-D morphology feature extracted from Bi-LSTM network and 2-D rhythm feature extracted from reconstructed phase space are integrated by means of CNN network to improve the robustness of AF detection. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study where the phase space trajectory of BCG is conducted.

RESULTS : 2000 segments (AF and NAF) of BCG signals were collected from 59 volunteers suffering from paroxysmal AF in this survey. Compared to the classical time and frequency features and the state-of-the-art energy features with the popular machine learning classifiers, AF detection performance of the proposed method is superior, which has 0.947 accuracy, 0.935 specificity, 0.959 sensitivity, and 0.937 precision, for the same BCG dataset. The experimental results show that combined feature could excavate more potential characteristics, and the attention mechanism could enhance the pertinence for AF recognition.

CONCLUSIONS : The proposed method can provide an innovative solution to capture the diverse scale descriptions of BCG and explore ways to involve the deep learning method to accurately screen AF in routine life.

Jiang Fangfang, Hong Chuhang, Cheng Tianqing, Wang Haoqian, Xu Bowen, Zhang Biyong


Attention mechanism, Ballistocardiogram signal, Bi-LSTM, CNN, Feature fusion, Phase space reconstruction