Explainable Artificial Intelligence Model for Diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation Using Holter Electrocardiogram Waveforms

Int Heart J. 2021;62(3):534-539. doi: 10.1536/ihj.21-094.


Atrial fibrillation is a clinically important arrhythmia. There are some reports on machine learning models for AF diagnosis using electrocardiogram data. However, few reports have proposed an eXplainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI) model to enable physicians to easily understand the machine learning model's diagnosis results.We developed and validated an XAI-enabled atrial fibrillation diagnosis model based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) algorithm. We used Holter electrocardiogram monitoring data and the gradient-weighted class activation mapping (Grad-CAM) method.Electrocardiogram data recorded from patients between January 4, 2016, and October 31, 2019, totaling 57,273 electrocardiogram waveform slots of 30 seconds each with diagnostic information annotated by cardiologists, were used for training our proposed model. Performance metrics of our AI model for AF diagnosis are as follows: sensitivity, 97.1% (95% CI: 0.969-0.972); specificity, 94.5% (95% CI: 0.943-0.946); accuracy, 95.3% (95% CI: 0.952-0.955); positive predictive value, 89.3% (95% CI: 0.892-0.897); and F-value, 93.1% (95% CI: 0.929-0.933). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for AF detection using our model was 0.988 (95% CI: 0.987-0.988). Furthermore, using the XAI method, 94.5 ± 3.5% of the areas identified as regions of interest using our machine learning model were identified as characteristic sites for AF diagnosis by cardiologists.AF was accurately diagnosed and favorably explained with Holter ECG waveforms using our proposed CNN-based XAI model. Our study presents another step toward realizing a viable XAI-based detection model for AF diagnoses for use by physicians.

Keywords: Convolutional neural network; Gradient-weighted class activation mapping; Holter monitoring; Machine larning.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Asians / ethnology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity