Skip to main content

A personal Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) detector based on ECG biometric technology

  • Conference paper

Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE,volume 14)


Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD), occurs when there is an abrupt loss of heart function. It is responsible for an estimated 400,000 deaths per year in the United States and millions of deaths worldwide [1]. Unfortunately, only a few patients can survive when they suffer a SCD unless they happen to be in a hospital. The aim of our research is to develop a SCD detector that can be implemented in personal e-health ECG monitors that can provide early SCD warnings and increase the survival rate of patients.

In this research, our previous ECG biometric algorithm was applied to detect and identify SCD events. In the enrollment process, an average heartbeat was generated for each person by randomly selecting twenty normal sequential heartbeats to become their heartbeat template. Then, the template matching was applied to each heartbeat that was input. For each person the correlation coefficients between their template and the normal heartbeats were very close to 1 for most people. However, when the SCD event occurs, the correlation coefficients drop significantly because of waveform dissimilarity. The threshold for a suspected SCD event was set at 0.7 based on our previous knowledge of ECG biometrics. After the correlation coefficients drop below the threshold, an IIR filter with a center frequency 5 Hz and the zero-crossing method were applied to further verify SCD events. If the situation lasts for eight seconds, the system activates a SCD alarm. For testing, twenty SCD patterns were obtained from the PhysioNet Sudden Cardiac Death Holter database for our SCD samples. Overall, the results showed that our algorithm was successful in detecting up to 95% of SCD occurrences (19 out of 20 events).


  • Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD)
  • ECG biometrics
  • template matching
  • and e-health monitor

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-36841-0_302
  • Chapter length: 4 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   1,109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-540-36841-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   1,399.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. J. L. Jones and O. H. Tovar, “The Mechanism of Defibrillation and Cardioversion,” Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 84, pp. 392–403, 1996.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  2. W. M. Smith, “Cardiac Defibrillation,” IEEE-EMBC and CMBEC, pp. 249–250, 1997.

    Google Scholar 

  3. V. X. Afonso and W. J. Tompkins, “Detecting ventricular fibrillation,” IEEE Eng. Med. Biol., pp. 152–159, 1995.

    Google Scholar 

  4. T. W. Shen, W. J. Tompkins, and Y. H. Hu, “One-lead ECG for identity verification,” 2nd Joint Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and the Biomedical Engineering Society, pp. 62–63, 2002.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Y. Jung and W. J. Tompkins, “Detecting and Classifying Life-threatening ECG Ventricular Arrhythmias using Wavelet Decomposition,” Proceedings of the 25th Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS, 2003.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tsu-Wang Shen Ph.D. .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2007 International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering

About this paper

Cite this paper

Shen, TW., Lin, C.C., Shen, H.P., Ou, Y.L., Lin, C.H. (2007). A personal Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) detector based on ECG biometric technology. In: Magjarevic, R., Nagel, J.H. (eds) World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2006. IFMBE Proceedings, vol 14. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-540-36839-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-540-36841-0

  • eBook Packages: EngineeringEngineering (R0)