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Type: Journal article
Title: Detection of a and b waves in the acceleration photoplethysmogram
Author: Elgendi, M.
Norton, I.
Brearley, M.
Abbott, D.
Schuurmans, D.
Citation: BioMedical Engineering OnLine, 2014; 13(1):139-156
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 1475-925X
Statement of
Mohamed Elgendi, Ian Norton, Matt Brearley, Derek Abbott, and Dale Schuurmans
Abstract: Background: Analyzing acceleration photoplethysmogram (APG) signals measured after exercise is challenging. In this paper, a novel algorithm that can detect a waves and consequently b waves under these conditions is proposed. Accurate a and b wave detection is an important first step for the assessment of arterial stiffness and other cardiovascular parameters. Methods: Nine algorithms based on fixed thresholding are compared, and a new algorithm is introduced to improve the detection rate using a testing set of heat stressed APG signals containing a total of 1,540 heart beats. Results: The new a detection algorithm demonstrates the highest overall detection accuracy—99.78% sensitivity, 100% positive predictivity—over signals that suffer from 1) non-stationary effects, 2) irregular heartbeats, and 3) low amplitude waves. In addition, the proposed b detection algorithm achieved an overall sensitivity of 99.78% and a positive predictivity of 99.95%. Conclusions: The proposed algorithm presents an advantage for real-time applications by avoiding human intervention in threshold determination.
Keywords: Vascular effects; Hypertension; Atherosclerosis
Rights: © 2014 Elgendi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
RMID: 0030009688
DOI: 10.1186/1475-925X-13-139
Appears in Collections:Electrical and Electronic Engineering publications

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