A New Segmented-Beat Modulation Algorithm for Maternal ECG Estimation from Abdominal Recordings

  • A. Agostinelli
  • C. Giuliani
  • S. Fioretti
  • F. Di Nardo
  • L. Burattini
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE, volume 392)


The noninvasive fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) provides precious information about the physiological fetus state. It is extracted from abdominal recordings, obtained positioning surface electrodes on the maternal abdomen, by subtraction of the maternal ECG (mECG), often roughly estimated by simply concatenating a maternal-beat template. Aim of the present study is to propose a new algorithm for the mECG estimation based on a segmented-beat modulation method (SBMM) that adjusts the template length to the maternal physiological heart-rate variability (HRV) and reduces the level of noise. According to the SBMM, each maternal cardiac cycle (CC) is segmented into two segments, QRS and TUP, respectively independent and proportional to preceding RR interval. The estimated mECG is the concatenation of the template-beat, obtained as the median of the maternal beat after modulation and demodulation of TUP segment. The algorithm was applied to two (ARec1 and ARec2) 4-channel abdominal recordings obtained from pregnant women. ARec1 and ARec2 were both 60 s long and characterized by similar heart rate (HR: 80 bpm and 82 bpm) but different HRV (42 ms vs. 139 ms). Results indicate that the error in the mECG estimation is always small (<2.5 µV) but increases with HRV (ARec1: 0.87–1.65 µV; ARec2: 1.98–2.37 µV). In conclusion, the proposed algorithm based on the SBMM allows a clean mECG estimation from abdominal recordings thanks to a modulation procedure introduced to track physiological variation in the maternal heart rhythm.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Agostinelli
    • 1
  • C. Giuliani
    • 1
  • S. Fioretti
    • 1
  • F. Di Nardo
    • 1
  • L. Burattini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information EngineeringUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly

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