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A dynamical model for generating synthetic electrocardiogram signals

Patrick E. McSharry$^{1,2}$, Gari Clifford$^1$, Lionel Tarassenko$^1$ and Leonard A. Smith$^{2,3}$ [*] [*] [*] [*]

This article originally appeared in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 50(3):289-294; March 2003. Please cite this publication when referencing this material.

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Software that implements the model described in this paper is freely available here.


A dynamical model based on three coupled ordinary differential equations is introduced which is capable of generating realistic synthetic electrocardiogram (ECG) signals. The operator can specify the mean and standard deviation of the heart rate, the morphology of the PQRST cycle and the power spectrum of the RR tachogram. In particular, both Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia at the high frequencies (HF) and Mayer waves at the low frequencies (LF) together with the LF/HF ratio are incorporated in the model. Much of the beat-to-beat variation in morphology and timing of the human ECG, including QT dispersion and R-peak amplitude modulation are shown to result. This model may be employed to assess biomedical signal processing techniques which are used to compute clinical statistics from the ECG.

Dynamical model, synthetic ECG, QRS morphology, Respiratory si...
... Heart rate variability, RR tachogram, RR-interval, QT-interval.