Arrhythmia is a cardiac condition caused by abnormal electrical activity of the heart, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) is the non-invasive method used to detect arrhythmias or heart abnormalities. Due to the presence of noise, the non-stationary nature of the ECG signal (i.e. the changing morphology of the ECG signal with respect to time) and the irregularity of the heartbeat, physicians face difficulties in the diagnosis of arrhythmias. The computer-aided analysis of ECG results assists physicians to detect cardiovascular diseases. The development of many existing arrhythmia systems has depended on the findings from linear experiments on ECG data which achieve high performance on noise-free data. However, nonlinear experiments characterize the ECG signal more effectively sense, extract hidden information in the ECG signal, and achieve good performance under noisy conditions. This paper investigates the representation ability of linear and nonlinear features and proposes a combination of such features in order to improve the classification of ECG data. In this study, five types of beat classes of arrhythmia as recommended by the Association for Advancement of Medical Instrumentation are analyzed: non-ectopic beats (N), supra-ventricular ectopic beats (S), ventricular ectopic beats (V), fusion beats (F) and unclassifiable and paced beats (U). The characterization ability of nonlinear features such as high order statistics and cumulants and nonlinear feature reduction methods such as independent component analysis are combined with linear features, namely, the principal component analysis of discrete wavelet transform coefficients. The features are tested for their ability to differentiate different classes of data using different classifiers, namely, the support vector machine and neural network methods with tenfold cross-validation. Our proposed method is able to classify the N, S, V, F and U arrhythmia classes with high accuracy (98.91%) using a combined support vector machine and radial basis function method.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.