I-Vector-Based Patient Adaptation of Deep Neural Networks for Automatic Heartbeat Classification

Shensheng Xu, Man Wai Mak, Chi Chung Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Automatic classification of electrocardiogram (ECG) signals is important for diagnosing heart arrhythmias. A big challenge in automatic ECG classification is the variation in the waveforms and characteristics of ECG signals among different patients. To address this issue, this paper proposes adapting a patient-independent deep neural network (DNN) using the information in the patient-dependent identity vectors (i-vectors). The adapted networks, namely i-vector adapted patient-specific DNNs (iAP-DNNs), are tuned toward the ECG characteristics of individual patients. For each patient, his/her ECG waveforms are compressed into an i-vector using a factor analysis model. Then, this i-vector is injected into the middle hidden layer of the patient-independent DNN. Stochastic gradient descent is then applied to fine-tune the whole network to form a patient-specific classifier. As a result, the adaptation makes use of not only the raw ECG waveforms from the specific patient but also the compact representation of his/her ECG characteristics through the i-vector. Analysis on the hidden-layer activations shows that by leveraging the information in the i-vectors, the iAP-DNNs are more capable of discriminating normal heartbeats against arrhythmic heartbeats than the networks that use the patient-specific ECG only for the adaptation. Experimental results based on the MIT-BIH database suggest that the iAP-DNNs perform better than existing patient-specific classifiers in terms of various performance measures. In particular, the sensitivity and specificity of the existing methods are all under the receiver operating characteristic curves of the iAP-DNNs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8725515
Pages (from-to)717-727
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Arrhythmias
  • DNN adaptation
  • ECG classification
  • deep neural networks
  • i-vectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Health Information Management


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