Dynamic time warping applied to estimate atrial fibrillation temporal organization from the surface electrocardiogram

Autores UPV
Revista Medical Engineering & Physics


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most commonly diagnosed arrhythmia in clinical practice. However, the mechanisms responsible for its induction and maintenance still are not fully understood. To this respect, analysis of the electrical activity organization within the atria could play an important role in their proper interpretation. Although many algorithms to quantify AF organization from invasive electrograms can be found in the literature, a reduced number of indirect estimators from the standard ECG have been proposed to date. Furthermore, these surface methods can only yield a global AF organization assessment, blurring the possible information that each individual fibrillatory (f) wave may provide. To this respect, the present manuscript proposes a novel method for direct and short-time AF organization estimation from single-lead surface ECG recordings. Through the computation of morphological variations among f waves, the temporal arrhythmia organization is estimated. The f waves are individually extracted and delineated from the atrial activity signal, making use of a dynamic time warping approach. The proposed algorithm was tested on real AF surface recordings in order to discriminate atrial signals with different organization degrees, obtaining a diagnostic accuracy higher than 88%. In addition, its performance was validated by comparison with two temporal organization measures from invasive unipolar electrograms of both atria, providing statistically significant linear correlations between invasive and non-invasive estimates. As a consequence, new standpoints are opened through this work in the non-invasive analysis of AF, where the individualized study of each f wave could assess short-time AF organization, would improve the understanding of AF mechanisms and become useful for its clinical treatment.