A non-uniform distribution of diagnostic information in the electrocardiogram (ECG) has been commonly accepted and is the background to several compression, denoising and watermarking methods. Gaze tracking is a widely recognized method for identification of an observer’s preferences and interest areas. The statistics of experts’ scanpaths were found to be a convenient quantitative estimate of medical information density for each particular component (i.e., wave) of the ECG record. In this paper we propose the application of generalized perceptual features to control the adaptive sampling of a digital ECG. Firstly, based on temporal distribution of the information density, local ECG bandwidth is estimated and projected to the actual positions of components in heartbeat representation. Next, the local sampling frequency is calculated pointwise and the ECG is adaptively low-pass filtered in all simultaneous channels. Finally, sample values are interpolated at new time positions forming a non-uniform time series. In evaluation of perceptual sampling, an inverse transform was used for the reconstruction of regularly sampled ECG with a percent root-mean-square difference (PRD) error of 3–5% (for compression ratios 3.0–4.7, respectively). Nevertheless, tests performed with the use of the CSE Database show good reproducibility of ECG diagnostic features, within the IEC 60601-2-25:2015 requirements, thanks to the occurrence of distortions in less relevant parts of the cardiac cycle.
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