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A Simple Method for Guaranteeing ECG Quality in Real-Time Wavelet Lossy Coding

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Abstract

Guaranteeing ECG signal quality in wavelet lossy compression methods is essential for clinical acceptability of reconstructed signals. In this paper, we present a simple and efficient method for guaranteeing reconstruction quality measured using the new distortion index wavelet weighted PRD (WWPRD), which reflects in a more accurate way the real clinical distortion of the compressed signal. The method is based on the wavelet transform and its subsequent coding using the set partitioning in hierarchical trees (SPIHT) algorithm. By thresholding the WWPRD in the wavelet transform domain, a very precise reconstruction error can be achieved thus enabling to obtain clinically useful reconstructed signals. Because of its computational efficiency, the method is suitable to work in a real-time operation, thus being very useful for real-time telecardiology systems. The method is extensively tested using two different ECG databases. Results led to an excellent conclusion: the method controls the quality in a very accurate way not only in mean value but also with a low-standard deviation. The effects of ECG baseline wandering as well as noise in compression are also discussed. Baseline wandering provokes negative effects when using WWPRD index to guarantee quality because this index is normalized by the signal energy. Therefore, it is better to remove it before compression. On the other hand, noise causes an increase in signal energy provoking an artificial increase of the coded signal bit rate. Clinical validation by cardiologists showed that a WWPRD value of 10 preserves the signal quality and thus they recommend this value to be used in the compression system.

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Correspondence to Álvaro Alesanco.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://doi.org/creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Alesanco, Á., García, J. A Simple Method for Guaranteeing ECG Quality in Real-Time Wavelet Lossy Coding. EURASIP J. Adv. Signal Process. 2007, 093195 (2007) doi:10.1155/2007/93195

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Keywords

  • Signal Quality
  • Reconstruction Error
  • Reconstructed Signal
  • Reconstruction Quality
  • Compression System