Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 52, Issue 9, pp 717–728 | Cite as

Binary optimization for source localization in the inverse problem of ECG

  • Danila Potyagaylo
  • Elisenda Gil Cortés
  • Walther H. W. Schulze
  • Olaf Dössel
Original Article


The goal of ECG-imaging (ECGI) is to reconstruct heart electrical activity from body surface potential maps. The problem is ill-posed, which means that it is extremely sensitive to measurement and modeling errors. The most commonly used method to tackle this obstacle is Tikhonov regularization, which consists in converting the original problem into a well-posed one by adding a penalty term. The method, despite all its practical advantages, has however a serious drawback: The obtained solution is often over-smoothed, which can hinder precise clinical diagnosis and treatment planning. In this paper, we apply a binary optimization approach to the transmembrane voltage (TMV)-based problem. For this, we assume the TMV to take two possible values according to a heart abnormality under consideration. In this work, we investigate the localization of simulated ischemic areas and ectopic foci and one clinical infarction case. This affects only the choice of the binary values, while the core of the algorithms remains the same, making the approximation easily adjustable to the application needs. Two methods, a hybrid metaheuristic approach and the difference of convex functions (DC), algorithm were tested. For this purpose, we performed realistic heart simulations for a complex thorax model and applied the proposed techniques to the obtained ECG signals. Both methods enabled localization of the areas of interest, hence showing their potential for application in ECGI. For the metaheuristic algorithm, it was necessary to subdivide the heart into regions in order to obtain a stable solution unsusceptible to the errors, while the analytical DC scheme can be efficiently applied for higher dimensional problems. With the DC method, we also successfully reconstructed the activation pattern and origin of a simulated extrasystole. In addition, the DC algorithm enables iterative adjustment of binary values ensuring robust performance.


Inverse problem of ECG Binary optimization Non-smooth source localization 



This work was financially supported by the German Research Foundation under the Grant DO 637/13-1.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danila Potyagaylo
    • 1
  • Elisenda Gil Cortés
    • 2
  • Walther H. W. Schulze
    • 1
  • Olaf Dössel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biomedical EngineeringKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Performance and Planning DepartmenteasyJetLutonUK

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