Detection of a and b waves in the acceleration photoplethysmogram

Biomed Eng Online. 2014 Sep 25;13:139. doi: 10.1186/1475-925X-13-139.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Heart / anatomy & histology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photoplethysmography / methods*
  • Pulse Wave Analysis / methods*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Young Adult