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Recent advances in machine learning, particularly deep neural network architectures, have shown substantial promise in classifying and predicting cardiac abnormalities from electrocardiogram (ECG) data. Such data are rich in information content, typically in morphology and timing, due to the close correlation between cardiac function and the ECG. However, the ECG is usually not measured ubiquitously in a passive manner from consumer devices, and generally requires ‘active’ sampling whereby the user prompts a device to take an ECG measurement. Conversely, photoplethysmography (PPG) data are typically measured passively by consumer devices, and therefore available for long-period monitoring and suitable in duration for identifying transient cardiac events. However, classifying or predicting cardiac abnormalities from the PPG is very difficult, because it is a peripherally-measured signal. Hence, the use of the PPG for predictive inference is often limited to deriving physiological parameters (heart rate, breathing rate, etc.) or for obvious abnormalities in cardiac timing, such as atrial fibrillation/flutter (“palpitations”). This work aims to combine the best of both worlds: using continuously-monitored, near-ubiquitous PPG to identify periods of sufficient abnormality in the PPG such that prompting the user to take an ECG would be informative of cardiac risk. We propose a dual-convolutional-attention network (DCA-Net) to achieve this ECG-based PPG classification. With DCA-Net, we prove the plausibility of this concept on MIMIC Waveform Database with high performance level (AUROC > 0.9 and AUPRC > 0.7) and receive satisfactory result when testing the model on an independent dataset (AUROC > 0.7 and AUPRC > 0.6) which it is not perfectly-matched to the MIMIC dataset.

Original publication




Journal article


IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics

Publication Date