Multi-center atrial fibrillation electrocardiogram (ECG) classification using Fourier space convolutional neural networks (FD-CNN) and transfer learning.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of electrocardiology


There has been a proliferation of machine learning (ML) electrocardiogram (ECG) classification algorithms reaching >85% accuracy for various cardiac pathologies. Despite the high accuracy at individual institutions, challenges remain when it comes to multi-center deployment. Transfer learning (TL) is a technique in which a model trained for a specific task is repurposed for another related task, in this case ECG ML model trained at one institution is fine-tuned to be utilized to classify ECGs at another institution. Models trained at one institution, however, might not be generalizable for accurate classification when deployed broadly due to differences in type, time, and sampling rate of traditional ECG acquisition. In this study, we evaluate the performance of time domain (TD) and frequency domain (FD) convolutional neural network (CNN) classification models in an inter-institutional scenario leveraging three different publicly available datasets. The larger PTB-XL ECG dataset was used to initially train TD and FD CNN models for atrial fibrillation (AFIB) classification. The models were then tested on two different data sets, Lobachevsky University Electrocardiography Database (LUDB) and Korea University Medical Center database (KURIAS). The FD model was able to retain most of its performance (>0.81 F1-score), whereas TD was highly affected (<0.53 F1-score) by the dataset variations, even with TL applied. The FD CNN showed superior robustness to cross-institutional variability and has potential for widespread application with no compromise to ECG classification performance.

PubMed ID




First Page


Last Page