Recent research has proven the existence of statistical relation among fragmented QRS and several highly prevalence diseases, such as cardiac sarcoidosis, acute coronary syndrome, arrythmogenic cardiomyopathies, Brugada syndrome, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. One out of five hundred people suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathies. The relation among the fragmentation and arrhythmias drives the objective of this work, which is to propose a valid method for QRS fragmentation detection. With that aim, we followed a two-stage approach. First, we identified the features that better characterize the fragmentation by analyzing the physiological interpretation of multivariate approaches, such as principal component analysis (PCA) and independent component analysis (ICA). Second, we created an invariant transformation method for the multilead electrocardiogram (ECG), by scrutinizing the statistical distributions of the PCA eigenvectors and of the ICA transformation arrays, in order to anchor the desired elements in the suitable leads in the feature space. A complete database was compounded incorporating real fragmented ECGs, surrogate registers by synthetically adding fragmented activity to real non-fragmented ECG registers, and standard clean ECGs. Results showed that the creation of beat templates together with the application of PCA over eight independent leads achieves 0.995 fragmentation enhancement ratio and 0.07 dispersion coefficient. In the case of ICA over twelve leads, the results were 0.995 fragmentation enhancement ratio and 0.70 dispersion coefficient. We conclude that the algorithm presented in this work constructs a new paradigm, by creating a systematic and powerful tool for clinical anamnesis and evaluation based on multilead ECG. This approach consistently consolidates the inconspicuous elements present in multiple leads onto designated variables in the output space, hence offering additional and valid visual and non-visual information to standard clinical review, and opening the door to a more accurate automatic detection and statistically valid systematic approach for a wide number of applications. In this direction and within the companion paper, further developments are presented applying this technique to fragmentation detection.
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