Prediction of atrial fibrillation from at-home single-lead ECG signals without arrhythmias

Published in Healthcare & Nursing
Prediction of atrial fibrillation from at-home single-lead ECG signals without arrhythmias

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Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common heart rhythm disorder that significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular complications. However, AFib often goes undiagnosed in a significant percentage of affected individuals. Early identification of AFib is crucial for implementing appropriate treatment strategies and reducing the risk of adverse outcomes. In this scientific article, we have developed a model that can predict the occurrence of AFib within a two-week period based on at-home single-lead ECG signals. This technology has the potential to revolutionize screening procedures and improve AFib detection. (Figure)

Prediction of AFib

We collected a large dataset of 459,889 patch-based ambulatory single-lead ECG recordings from individuals using a wearable ECG patch for up to 14 days. The goal was to develop a model that could quantify the risk of near-term AFib by analyzing AFib-free ECG intervals of various lengths. The model integrated ECG morphology data with demographic and heart rhythm features using deep learning techniques. The performance of the model was evaluated using different input configurations and monitoring lengths.

Why deep learning?

The model achieved interesting results in predicting near-term AFib. When observing a 1-day AFib-free ECG recording, the model with deep learning features produced the most accurate prediction with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.80. This significantly improved discrimination compared to models based on demographic and manual features alone. The inclusion of deep learning features extracted from the ECG signal was crucial for improving prediction accuracy. We also found that the length of the monitoring window influenced the prediction accuracy. Longer monitoring periods provided more accurate predictions, supporting the idea that some features related to AFib may not be present in shorter monitoring intervals.

Potential Implications

This technology has significant implications for the early detection and management of AFib. By utilizing at-home single-lead ECG signals, the model can predict the risk of AFib even in the absence of observed events. This has the potential to improve diagnostic capture of AFib by identifying individuals with AFib-negative ambulatory monitoring who would benefit from prolonged or recurrent monitoring. Early identification of AFib can lead to timely initiation of treatment and reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular complications. The findings of this study highlight the potential of digital strategies in improving AFib detection and risk stratification. As wearable devices become more prevalent, the diagnosis and management of cardiac arrhythmias, including AFib, can be transformed. The integration of deep learning techniques with ECG data allows for more accurate prediction and targeted monitoring, optimizing the use of limited resources and improving the sensitivity of screening programs.

Future directions

While this study demonstrates promising results, further validation and prospective studies are necessary to extend the applicability of the prediction model to the general population. Additionally, the model can be further improved by incorporating additional information, such as genetic and electronic health record data, in a multi-modal approach. The calibration of the model to different wearable devices and sensor characteristics is also an important consideration for future research.
The development of a model for predicting AFib from single-lead ECG signals represents a significant advancement in AFib detection and risk stratification. This technology has the potential to transform the management of AFib, enabling early identification and timely initiation of treatment. With the increasing availability of wearable devices and advancements in deep learning techniques, the future of AFib detection looks promising.

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  • npj Digital Medicine npj Digital Medicine

    An online open-access journal dedicated to publishing research in all aspects of digital medicine, including the clinical application and implementation of digital and mobile technologies, virtual healthcare, and novel applications of artificial intelligence and informatics.

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