Considerations on Performance Evaluation of Atrial Fibrillation Detectors

Monika Butkuviene, Andrius Petrenas, Andrius Solosenko, Alba Martin-Yebra, Vaidotas Marozas, Leif Sornmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Objective: A large number of atrial fibrillation (AF) detectors have been published in recent years, signifying that the comparison of detector performance plays a central role, though not always consistent. The aim of this study is to shed needed light on aspects crucial to the evaluation of detection performance. Methods: Three types of AF detector, using either information on rhythm, rhythm and morphology, or segments of ECG samples, are implemented and studied on both real and simulated ECG signals. The properties of different performance measures are investigated, for example, in relation to dataset imbalance. Results: The results show that performance can differ considerably depending on the way detector output is compared to database annotations, i.e., beat-to-beat, segment-to-segment, or episode-to-episode comparison. Moreover, depending on the type of detector, the results substantiate that physiological and technical factors, e.g., changes in ECG morphology, rate of atrial premature beats, and noise level, can have a considerable influence on performance. Conclusion: The present study demonstrates overall strengths and weaknesses of different types of detector, highlights challenges in AF detection, and proposes five recommendations on how to handle data and characterize performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3250-3260
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Medical Equipment Engineering


  • Annotations
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Databases
  • deep learning
  • detection
  • Detectors
  • Electrocardiography
  • expert-crafted detection
  • Monitoring
  • performance evaluation
  • performance measures
  • Rhythm


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