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International Journal of Modern Electronics and Communication Engineering (IJMECE) ISSN: 2321-2152

Volume No.-4, Issue No.-4, July, 2016

Compression Techniques for ECG Signal: A Review

Anju Malik Rajender Kumar
Department of Electronics & communication Engineering Department of Electronics & communication Engineering
BPSMV Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana BPSMV Khanpur Kalan, Sonipat, Haryana

Abstract: The most recent improvement of biomedical signal processing, information technology and communication has brought a
new measurement to the medical world. It is now possible to record an ECG signal with a convenient electrocardiograph trivial and
able to convert a micro-computer in electrocardiograph with the possibility of a diagnostic aid for automatic analysis. At the present
changing from a paper-based patient verification to a digital one. Electrocardiogram (ECG) is the procedure of recording the electrical
motion of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on a patient's body. The signal composed from the body wants to be
processed and compressed before sending to monitoring center. ECG data compression reduced the storage necessities to build up a
more efficient tele-cardiology system for cardiac analysis and diagnosis. This paper presents a study of different compression
techniques for ECG data compression and comparison of different ECG compression techniques like TURNING POINT, AZTEC,
CORTES, FFT and DCT it was initiate that DCT is the best appropriate compression technique with compression ratio of about 100:1.

Keywords: ECG signal; compression techniques; AZTEC; TP; CORTES; FFT; DFT.

I. INTRODUCTION interval is 80 – 100ms. The T wave represents repolarisation

Human heart is divided into four main chambers called atria of the ventricles and interval is 160ms. There is a U signal in
and ventricles both with their left as well as right instances. ECG wave which is having very low amplitude or even more
Those chambers together form a biological pump for often is absent. The detection of the QRS complex is mainly
propelling the blood throughout the body. Moreover those four important task in automatic ECG signal analysis. In the
observable sections there are several other parts of the heart normal sinus rhythm (normal ECG waves) the P-R interval is
for very specialized functions like separating atria From in the range of 0.12 to 0.2 seconds. The QRS interval is from
ventricles, slow inclination circulation, Very fast impulse 0.04 to 0.12 seconds. The Q-T period is less than 0.42
propagation etc. all of them performing particular tasks, seconds. If the P-R period is greater than 0.2 seconds, it may
ensuring that blood flows suitably and efficiently all the way suggest blockage of the AV node. The normal heart rate is 60
through the body. When electrical impulse propagates during – 100 beats per minute. Heart rate slower than 60 beats per
heart and all these particular cells, ECG electrodes pick up that minute is called bradycardia as well as a heart rate faster than
Impulse in various directions and speed. In this way ECG 100 beats per minute is called tachycardia. The ECG waves
waveforms are formed [1-2]. Generally, the frequency range provides the following information of a human heart,
of an ECG signal is of 0.05–100 Hz and its dynamic range 1– 1] Heart position and its relative chamber size 2] Impulse
10 mV. The ECG signal is characterized by five peaks and source and propagation 3] Heart rhythm and transmission
valleys labelled by the letters P, Q, R, S, T. In various cases disturbances 4] Extent and location of myocardial ischemia 5]
we moreover use another peak called U. The P-wave Changes in electrolyte concentrations 6] Drug special effects
represents the activation of the upper chambers of the heart, on the heart.
the atria with its interval is less than 80ms. The QRS Complex
represents the left or right ventricular depolarization and its

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International Journal of Modern Electronics and Communication Engineering (IJMECE) ISSN: 2321-2152
Volume No.-4, Issue No.-4, July, 2016

Direct methods are based on the extraction of a subset of

significant samples. Direct time-domain ECG compression
methods have efficient performance in terms of processing
speed and CR. These methods discover the redundancies
present directly in the ECG samples. Direct compression
Methods can be based on three approaches: tolerance
differential pulse code modulation (DPCM), comparison
Compression, and entropy coding [3].
 AZTEC technique
Cox et al. developed the AZTEC method for preprocessing of
real-time ECG’s for rhythm analysis [3]. It has grown to be a
well-liked data reduction algorithm for ECG monitors. The
AZTEC technique converts raw ECG sample points into
plateaus. The amplitude value as well as length of each plateau
is stored for reconstruction. Although the AZTEC Technique
is capable to compress with CR of 10 but the reconstruction
error is not clinically acceptable.
 TP algorithm
TP is direct data compression technique to diminish the ECG
sampling frequency without diminishing the elevation of large
amplitude QRS complexes [12]. The TP algorithm achieved
fixed CR of 2, with almost zero reconstruction error i.e.
reconstructed signal be similar to the original ECG signal. The
Fig 1.1: ECG signal representation and Time intervals of drawback of this technique is its unsuitability for equally
ECG [11-7] spaced time intervals.
 CORTES technique
transmission disturbances 4] Extent and location of CORTES algorithm is a hybrid approach of AZTEC and TP to
myocardial ischemia 5] Changes in electrolyte concentrations attain high CR of the AZTEC method and the low
6] Drug special effects on the heart. An ECG signal reconstruction inaccuracy of the TP technique. TP was applied
representation is shown in Fig.1.1. The various sections of this to the high frequency QRS region and AZTEC to the
paper is as follows. Section 2 reviews the various ECG isoelectric regions of the ECG [13]. The performance analysis
Compression techniques. This is followed by performance of the AZTEC, TP, and CORTES based compression for
evaluation parameters and comparison in section 3. In last ECG’s at 200 Hz sampling frequency produced CR of 5, 2 &
section, conclusion is drawn about the review 4.8 and PRD’s of 28, 5 & 7 respectively.
COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES In modified AZTEC algorithm, adaptive statistical parameters
of the signal to be compressed are evaluated. The adaptive
ECG compression methods are classified as: lossless and method optimizes the tradeoff between CR as well as PRD.
lessee. In lossless method, compressed signal is reconstructed [9]. The CR range between 2.76 and 9.91 for the threshold
in accurate form of original signal and in lossy method; variation from 0.010 to 0.035 and PRD from 4.54 to 7.99 was
compressed indication is reconstructed with a quantity of achieved.
error. Another type is based on techniques applied for (b) Transform frequency Domain Techniques
compression and can be categorized as: Transform based ECG compression methods are performed by
(a) Direct Time-Domain Techniques the use of linear orthogonal transformation to ECG samples.
Thus original samples of ECG are subjected to a conversion

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International Journal of Modern Electronics and Communication Engineering (IJMECE) ISSN: 2321-2152
Volume No.-4, Issue No.-4, July, 2016

and the compression is performed in the completely new coefficients [15]. DCT-II provide very impressive CR but at
domain like DCT, Fourier transform, (FT) and wavelet etc [8- the cost of high distortion.
12]. These techniques pose higher CR than direct techniques  Wavelet domain
and are insensitive to noise present in ECG signals. Wavelet transform have the beauty to evaluate the signal both
 FT domain in time and frequency domains simultaneously. Many
With FT the frequency-amplitude representation of the signal researchers give attention to on wavelet based ECG
is obtained [8-12]. To restructure the signal inverse FFT is compression techniques [5-6]. Recently, one-dimensional (1D)
applied. Limitation of FT is that it fails to provide the and two dimensional (2D) WT based ECG compression
information about the correct location of frequency component techniques with impressive CR, low PRD and smooth signal
in time. quality. The 2D compression approaches attain high CR but
 DCT domain occupy complex steps; accurate QRS wave detection, period
DCT represents a signal as a summation of varying magnitude normalization, amplitude normalization and mean removal etc.
as well as frequency. It implies dissimilar boundary condition  JPEG 2000
& frequently used in signal and image processing for lossy JPEG2000 is the latest image compression standard applied to
data compression. DCT has well-built “energy compaction the compress ECG signals. Some compression techniques use
property” & provide high de-correlation. In DCT compression JPEG2000 as the encoder for the 2-D ECG image with high
signal information can restore in a contain number of DCT CR
III. PERFORMANCE EVALUATION 3. Percentage Root Mean Square Difference Normalized
It is normalized version of PRD, which is independent of the
signal mean value 𝑋 , and is given by using equation (3).
N 2
N =1 Xs n −Xr (n))
The validation of an ECG compression technique can be PRDN (%) =100× N 2 …………… (3)
N =1 Xs n −X
judged by compression effectiveness with error criterion.
4. Quality Score (QS)
These parameters measure the ability of compression
It is the ratio of CR and PRD which quantifies the complete
technique to reconstruct the signal and to maintain the relevant
performance of the compression methods, and is given by
using equation (4).
1. Compression Ratio (CR) CR
QS= .......... …………. (4)
It is defined as the ratio of the original signal range and PRD

compressed signal range. The Compression ratio provides 5. Root Mean Square Error (RMS)
information about the degree by which the compression It provides measure of inaccuracy in reconstructed signal with
methods removes the redundant data. Higher the Compression respect to original signal, and is given by using equation (5).
ratio less number of bits required to store or transmits the data N
N =1 Xs n −Xr (n))

which can be defined as is given using equation (1). RMS (%) =100× …………….. (5)
𝐵𝑂 6. Signals to Noise Ratio (SNR)
CR= ………………... (1)
It is measure the degree of noise energy introduced by
Where, B0 is the total number of bits required to represent
compression in decibel (dB) scale, and is given using equation
original data and Bc total number of bits required to represent
compressed data. N 2
N =1 Xs n −X
2. Percent Mean Square Difference (PRD) SNR =10× log ( N 2 ) …………….. (6)
N =1 Xs n −Xr (n))
It measures the error between original with reconstructed This section provides the comparative analysis of efficiency
signal, and is given by using equation (2). and performance of these techniques in terms of CR and PRD
N 2
N =1 Xs n −Xr (n)) as shown in Table 1. This gives the choice to select the best
PRD (%) =100× N 2 …………… (2)
N =1 Xs (n)) suitable compression method. Hence in this paper the DCT
Where N is the no of data samples, Xs (n) is the original and initiate to be compressed 90.43 with PRD as 0.93. Table1
Xr (n) is the reconstructed signal.

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International Journal of Modern Electronics and Communication Engineering (IJMECE) ISSN: 2321-2152
Volume No.-4, Issue No.-4, July, 2016

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