Rapidly detecting disorder in rhythmic biological signals: A spectral entropy measure to identify cardiac arrhythmias

Phillip P. A. Staniczenko, Chiu Fan Lee, and Nick S. Jones
Phys. Rev. E 79, 011915 – Published 21 January 2009
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We consider the use of a running measure of power spectrum disorder to distinguish between the normal sinus rhythm of the heart and two forms of cardiac arrhythmia: atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. This spectral entropy measure is motivated by characteristic differences in the power spectra of beat timings during the three rhythms. We plot patient data derived from ten-beat windows on a “disorder map” and identify rhythm-defining ranges in the level and variance of spectral entropy values. Employing the spectral entropy within an automatic arrhythmia detection algorithm enables the classification of periods of atrial fibrillation from the time series of patients’ beats. When the algorithm is set to identify abnormal rhythms within 6s, it agrees with 85.7% of the annotations of professional rhythm assessors; for a response time of 30s, this becomes 89.5%, and with 60s, it is 90.3%. The algorithm provides a rapid way to detect atrial fibrillation, demonstrating usable response times as low as 6s. Measures of disorder in the frequency domain have practical significance in a range of biological signals: the techniques described in this paper have potential application for the rapid identification of disorder in other rhythmic signals.

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  • Received 22 September 2008


©2009 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Phillip P. A. Staniczenko1,2, Chiu Fan Lee1,2, and Nick S. Jones1,2,3

  • 1Physics Department, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 3PU, United Kingdom
  • 2CABDyN Complexity Centre, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 1HP, United Kingdom
  • 3Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology, Oxford OX1 3QU, United Kingdom

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Vol. 79, Iss. 1 — January 2009

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Physical Review E Scope Description to Include Biological Physics
January 14, 2016

The editors of Physical Review E are pleased to announce that the journal’s stated scope has been expanded to explicitly include the term “Biological Physics.”

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