Outlier-resilient complexity analysis of heartbeat dynamics

Men Tzung Lo, Yi Chung Chang, Chen Lin, Hsu Wen Vincent Young, Yen Hung Lin, Yi Lwun Ho, Chung Kang Peng, Kun Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Complexity in physiological outputs is believed to be a hallmark of healthy physiological control. How to accurately quantify the degree of complexity in physiological signals with outliers remains a major barrier for translating this novel concept of nonlinear dynamic theory to clinical practice. Here we propose a new approach to estimate the complexity in a signal by analyzing the irregularity of the sign time series of its coarse-grained time series at different time scales. Using surrogate data, we show that the method can reliably assess the complexity in noisy data while being highly resilient to outliers. We further apply this method to the analysis of human heartbeat recordings. Without removing any outliers due to ectopic beats, the method is able to detect a degradation of cardiac control in patients with congestive heart failure and a more degradation in critically ill patients whose life continuation relies on extracorporeal membrane oxygenator (ECMO). Moreover, the derived complexity measures can predict the mortality of ECMO patients. These results indicate that the proposed method may serve as a promising tool for monitoring cardiac function of patients in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8836
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2015


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