Arterial Pulse Waveform

Recently, I saw a Master’s thesis defense at my Alma Mater, the University of Winnipeg, Applied Computer Science. Jingjing Xia analyzed the shape of heartbeats in patients known to have different diseases. By applying math and algorithms, she was able to find strong correlations between the disease, and the shape of the heartbeat.

Pulse wave analysis has actually been around since Mahomed wrote about it in 1872 and there has been more research since then. Researchers have studied the shape of the heartbeat, made measurements of the different sections of the graph, and applied math to it.

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Summary:

First, Xia determined an equation to fit the pulse wave, a complex sum of eight sine waves. Then the first and third derivatives were taken from the equation. From the derivatives, the locations of different points of the heartbeat were able to be identified: the wave foot, systolic peak, and reflected point. From these numbers, the Reverse Shoulder Index (RSI), and Ratio of Distance were determined.

Once all the numbers were known, correlations were run between the different measurements and the known diseases of the patient. They did find a number of correlations between the heartbeat’s pulse wave, and various cardiovascular diseases: coronary heart disease, hypertension, and chest pain.

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Thoughts:

One thought is that this has a lot of the ingredients of data science: mathematics & statistics, computer science & algorithms, data and a distinct subject area. Read the rest of this entry »

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