Aims: Automated detection of atrial fibrillation (AF) in continuous rhythm registrations is essential in order to prevent complications and optimize treatment of AF. Many algorithms have been developed to detect AF in surface electrocardiograms (ECGs) during the past few years. The aim of this systematic review is to gain more insight into these available classification methods by discussing previously used digital biomarkers and algorithms and make recommendations for future research. Methods: On the 14th of September 2020, the PubMed database was searched for articles focusing on algorithms for AF detection in ECGs using the MeSH terms Atrial Fibrillation, Electrocardiography and Algorithms. Articles which solely focused on differentiation of types of rhythm disorders or prediction of AF termination were excluded. Results: The search resulted in 451 articles, of which 130 remained after full-text screening. Not only did the amount of research on methods for AF detection increase over the past years, but a trend towards more complex classification methods is observed. Furthermore, three different types of features can be distinguished: atrial features, ventricular features, and signal features. Although AF is an atrial disease, only 22% of the described methods use atrial features. Conclusion: More and more studies focus on improving accuracy of classification methods for AF in ECGs. As a result, algorithms become increasingly complex and less well interpretable. Only a few studies focus on detecting atrial activity in the ECG. Developing innovative methods focusing on detection of atrial activity might provide accurate classifiers without compromising on transparency.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
N.M.S. de Groot, MD, PhD is supported by funding grants from CVON-AFFIP, The Netherlands [grant number 914728 ]; NWO-Vidi, The Netherlands [grant number 91717339 ]; Biosense Webster, USA [ ICD 783454 ]; and Medical Delta, The Netherlands .
© 2021 The Authors