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Nonlinear analysis of the heartbeats in public patient ECGs using an automated PD2i algorithm for risk stratification of arrhythmic death

Authors Skinner JE, Anchin JM, Weiss DN

Published 11 April 2008 Volume 2008:4(2) Pages 549—557


James E Skinner, Jerry M Anchin, Daniel N Weiss

Vicor Technologies, Inc., Bangor, PA, USA

Abstract: Heart rate variability (HRV) reflects both cardiac autonomic function and risk of arrhythmic death (AD). Reduced indices of HRV based on linear stochastic models are independent risk factors for AD in post-myocardial infarct cohorts. Indices based on nonlinear deterministic models have a significantly higher sensitivity and specificity for predicting AD in retrospective data. A need exists for nonlinear analytic software easily used by a medical technician. In the current study, an automated nonlinear algorithm, the time-dependent point correlation dimension (PD2i), was evaluated. The electrocardiogram (ECG) data were provided through an National Institutes of Health-sponsored internet archive (PhysioBank) and consisted of all 22 malignant arrhythmia ECG files (VF/VT) and 22 randomly selected arrhythmia files as the controls. The results were blindly calculated by automated software (Vicor 2.0, Vicor Technologies, Inc., Boca Raton, FL) and showed all analyzable VF/VT files had PD2i < 1.4 and all analyzable controls had PD2i > 1.4. Five VF/VT and six controls were excluded because surrogate testing showed the RR-intervals to contain noise, possibly resulting from the low digitization rate of the ECGs. The sensitivity was 100%, specificity 85%, relative risk > 100; p < 0.01, power > 90%. Thus, automated heartbeat analysis by the time-dependent nonlinear PD2i-algorithm can accurately stratify risk of AD in public data made available for competitive testing of algorithms.

Keywords: heart rate variability, sudden death, ventricular arrhythmias, nonlinear, chaos

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