Performance of a convolutional neural network derived from an ECG database in recognizing myocardial infarction

Sci Rep. 2020 May 21;10(1):8445. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-65105-x.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is developing rapidly in the medical technology field, particularly in image analysis. ECG-diagnosis is an image analysis in the sense that cardiologists assess the waveforms presented in a 2-dimensional image. We hypothesized that an AI using a convolutional neural network (CNN) may also recognize ECG images and patterns accurately. We used the PTB ECG database consisting of 289 ECGs including 148 myocardial infarction (MI) cases to develop a CNN to recognize MI in ECG. Our CNN model, equipped with 6-layer architecture, was trained with training-set ECGs. After that, our CNN and 10 physicians are tested with test-set ECGs and compared their MI recognition capability in metrics F1 (harmonic mean of precision and recall) and accuracy. The F1 and accuracy by our CNN were significantly higher (83 ± 4%, 81 ± 4%) as compared to physicians (70 ± 7%, 67 ± 7%, P < 0.0001, respectively). Furthermore, elimination of Goldberger-leads or ECG image compression up to quarter resolution did not significantly decrease the recognition capability. Deep learning with a simple CNN for image analysis may achieve a comparable capability to physicians in recognizing MI on ECG. Further investigation is warranted for the use of AI in ECG image assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Deep Learning*
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis*
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Networks, Computer*