A deep learning approach for real-time detection of atrial fibrillation

Rasmus S. Andersen, Abdolrahman Peimankar, Sadasivan Puthusserypady*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Goal: To develop a robust and real-time approach for automatic detection of atrial fibrillation (AF) in long-term electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings using deep learning (DL). Method: An end-to-end model combining the Convolutional- and Recurrent-Neural Networks (CNN and RNN) was proposed to extract high level features from segments of RR intervals (RRIs) in order to classify them as AF or normal sinus rhythm (NSR). Results: The model was trained and validated on three different databases including a total of 89 subjects. It achieved a sensitivity and specificity of 98.98% and 96.95%, respectively, validated through a 5-fold cross-validation. Additionally, the proposed model was found to be computationally efficient and it was capable of analyzing 24 h of ECG recordings in less than one second. The proposed algorithm was also tested on the unseen datasets to examine its robustness in detecting AF for new recordings which resulted in 98.96% and 86.04% for specificity and sensitivity, respectively. Conclusion: Compared to the state-of-the-art models evaluated on standard benchmark ECG datasets, the proposed model produced better performance in detecting AF. Additionally, since the model learns features directly from the data, it avoids the need for clever/cumbersome feature engineering.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Pages (from-to)465-473
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Convolutional neural networks (CNNs)
  • Deep learning
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Long short-term memory (LSTM)
  • Recurrent neural networks (RNNs)


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