Real-Time Quality Assessment of Long-Term ECG Signals Recorded by Wearables in Free-Living Conditions

Lukas Smital, Clifton R. Haider, Martin Vitek, Pavel Leinveber, Pavel Jurak, Andrea Nemcova, Radovan Smisek, Lucie Marsanova, Ivo Provaznik, Christopher L. Felton, Barry K. Gilbert, David R. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Nowadays, methods for ECG quality assessment are mostly designed to binary distinguish between good/bad quality of the whole signal. Such classification is not suitable to long-term data collected by wearable devices. In this paper, a novel approach to estimate long-term ECG signal quality is proposed. Methods: The real-time quality estimation is performed in a local time window by calculation of continuous signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) curve. The layout of the data quality segments is determined by analysis of SNR waveform. It is distinguished between three levels of ECG signal quality: signal suitable for full wave ECG analysis, signal suitable only for QRS detection, and signal unsuitable for further processing. Results: The SNR limits for reliable QRS detection and full ECG waveform analysis are 5 and 18 dB respectively. The method was developed and tested using synthetic data and validated on real data from wearable device. Conclusion: The proposed solution is a robust, accurate and computationally efficient algorithm for annotation of ECG signal quality that will facilitate the subsequent tailored analysis of ECG signals recorded in free-living conditions. Significance: The field of long-term ECG signals self-monitoring by wearable devices is swiftly developing. The analysis of massive amount of collected data is time consuming. It is advantageous to characterize data quality in advance and thereby limit consequent analysis to useable signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8970507
Pages (from-to)2721-2734
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • ECG delineation
  • ECG signal
  • QRS detection
  • SNR estimation
  • signal quality
  • signal segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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