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ECG Noise Filtering Using Online Model-Based Bayesian Filtering Techniques
The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a time-varying electrical signal that interprets the electrical activity of the heart. It is obtained by a non-invasive technique known as surface electromyography (EMG), used widely in hospitals. There are many clinical contexts in which ECGs are used, such as medical diagnosis, physiological therapy and arrhythmia monitoring. In medical diagnosis, medical conditions are interpreted by examining information and features in ECGs. Physiological therapy involves the control of some aspect of the physiological effort of a patient, such as the use of a pacemaker to regulate the beating of the heart. Moreover, arrhythmia monitoring involves observing and detecting life-threatening conditions, such as myocardial infarction or heart attacks, in a patient. ECG signals are usually corrupted with various types of unwanted interference such as muscle artifacts, electrode artifacts, power line noise and respiration interference, and are distorted in such a way that it can be difficult to perform medical diagnosis, physiological therapy or arrhythmia monitoring. Consequently signal processing on ECGs is required to remove noise and interference signals for successful clinical applications.
Existing signal processing techniques can remove some of the noise in an ECG signal, but are typically inadequate for extraction of the weak ECG components contaminated with background noise and for retention of various subtle features in the ECG. For example, the noise from the EMG usually overlaps the fundamental ECG cardiac components in the frequency domain, in the range of 0.01 Hz to 100 Hz. Simple filters are inadequate to remove noise which overlaps with ECG cardiac components.
Sameni et al. have proposed a Bayesian filtering framework to resolve these problems, and this gives results which are clearly superior to the results obtained from application of conventional signal processing methods to ECG. However, a drawback of this Bayesian filtering framework is that it must run offline, and this of course is not desirable for clinical applications such as arrhythmia monitoring and physiological therapy, both of which re- quire online operation in near real-time. To resolve this problem, in this thesis we propose a dynamical model which permits the Bayesian filtering framework to function online. The framework with the proposed dynamical model has less than 4% loss in performance compared to the previous (offline) version of the framework. The proposed dynamical model is based on theory from fixed-lag smoothing.