ECG-Derived Respiratory Rate in Atrial Fibrillation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: The present study addresses the problem of estimating the respiratory rate from the mor- phological ECG variations in the presence of atrial fibrilla- tory waves (f-waves). The significance of performing f-wave suppression before respiratory rate estimation is investi- gated. Methods: The performance of a novel approach to ECG-derived respiration, named “slope range” (SR) and de- signed particularly for operation in atrial fibrillation (AF), is compared to that of two well-known methods based on ei- ther R-wave angle (RA) or QRS loop rotation angle (LA). A novel rule is proposed for spectral peak selection in respira- tory rate estimation. The suppression of f-waves is accom- plished using signal- and noise-dependent QRS weighted averaging. The performance evaluation embraces real as well as simulated ECG signals acquired from patients with persistent AF; the estimation error of the respiratory rate is determined for both types of signals. Results: Using real ECG signals and reference respiratory signals, rate estima- tion without f-wave suppression resulted in a median error of 0.015 ± 0.021 Hz and 0.019 ± 0.025 Hz for SR and RA, respectively, whereas LA with f-wave suppression resulted in 0.034 ± 0.039 Hz. Using simulated signals, the results also demonstrate that f-wave suppression is superfluous for SR and RA, whereas it is essential for LA. Conclusion: The results show that SR offers the best performance as well as computational simplicity since f-wave suppression is not needed. Significance: The respiratory rate can be robustly estimated from the ECG in the presence of AF.


External organisations
  • University of Zaragoza
  • Polytechnic University of Milan
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Biotechnology


  • Respiratory rate, ECG-derived respiration, Atrial fibrillation, f-wave suppression
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-914
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 19
Publication categoryResearch