Deep convolutional neural networks based ECG beats classification to diagnose cardiovascular conditions

Md Rashed-Al-Mahfuz, Mohammad Ali Moni, Pietro Lio’, Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam, Shlomo Berkovsky, Matloob Khushi, Julian M.W. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Medical practitioners need to understand the critical features of ECG beats to diagnose and identify cardiovascular conditions accurately. This would be greatly facilitated by identifying the significant features of frequency components in temporal ECG wave-forms using computational methods. In this study, we have proposed a novel ECG beat classifier based on a customized VGG16-based Convolution Neural Network (CNN) that uses the time-frequency representation of temporal ECG, and a method to identify the contribution of interpretable ECG frequencies when classifying based on the SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) values. We applied our model to the MIT-BIH arrhythmia dataset to classify the ECG beats and to characterise of the beats frequencies. This model was evaluated with two advanced time-frequency analysis methods. Our results indicated that for 2-4 classes our proposed model achieves a classification accuracy of 100% and for 5 classes it achieves a classification accuracy of 99.90%. We have also tested the proposed model using premature ventricular contraction beats from the American Heart Association (AHA) database and normal beats from Lobachevsky University Electrocardiography database (LUDB) and obtained a classification accuracy of 99.91% for the 5-classes case. In addition, SHAP value increased the interpretability of the ECG frequency features. Thus, this model could be applicable to the automation of the cardiovascular diagnosis system and could be used by clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-162
Number of pages16
JournalBiomedical Engineering Letters
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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