Heart Rate Turbulence Analysis Based on Photoplethysmography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The goal of this paper is to determine whether the photoplethysmography (PPG) can replace the ECG-based detection of heart rate turbulence. Using the PPG, classification of ventricular premature beats (VPBs) is accomplished with a linear classifier. The two conventional parameters turbulence onset and slope are studied together with a recently introduced parameter characterizing turbulence shape. Performance is studied on a dataset with 4131 VPBs, recorded from a total of 27 patients in different clinical contexts (hemodialysis treatment, intensive care monitoring, and electrophysiological study). The sensitivity/specificity of VPB classification was found to be 90.5/99.9%, with an accuracy of 99.3%, suggesting that classification of VPBs can be reliable made from the PPG. The main difference between the two types of turbulence analysis stems from the fact that the pulse transit time varies largely immediately after the VPB. Out of the 22 patients which had a sufficient number of VPBs, the outcome of the ECG-and PPG-based analysis was identical in 21. It is concluded that the PPG may serve as a surrogate technique for the ECG in turbulence analysis.


  • Eduardo Gil
  • Pablo Laguna
  • Juan Pablo Martinez
  • Oscar Barquero-Perez
  • Arcadi Garcia-Alberola
  • Leif Sörnmo
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Engineering


  • Heart rate turbulence (HRT), hemodialysis, photoplethysmography (PPG), pulse rate turbulence (PRT), pulse transit time (PTT), ventricular, premature beat (VPB)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3149-3155
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch