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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 10, 2015

Segmented independent component analysis for improved separation of fetal cardiac signals from nonstationary fetal magnetocardiograms

  • Luiz O. Murta , Mauro G. Guzo , Eder R. Moraes , Oswaldo Baffa , Ronald T. Wakai and Silvia Comani EMAIL logo


Fetal magnetocardiograms (fMCGs) have been successfully processed with independent component analysis (ICA) to separate the fetal cardiac signals, but ICA effectiveness can be limited by signal nonstationarities due to fetal movements. We propose an ICA-based method to improve the quality of fetal signals separated from fMCG affected by fetal movements. This technique (SegICA) includes a procedure to detect signal nonstationarities, according to which the fMCG recordings are divided in stationary segments that are then processed with ICA. The first and second statistical moments and the signal polarity reversal were used at different threshold levels to detect signal transients. SegICA effectiveness was assessed in two fMCG datasets (with and without fetal movements) by comparing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the signals extracted with ICA and with SegICA. Results showed that the SNR of fetal signals affected by fetal movements improved with SegICA, whereas the SNR gain was negligible elsewhere. The best measure to detect signal nonstationarities of physiological origin was signal polarity reversal at threshold level 0.9. The first statistical moment also provided good results at threshold level 0.6. SegICA seems a promising method to separate fetal cardiac signals of improved quality from nonstationary fMCG recordings affected by fetal movements.

Corresponding author: Silvia Comani, BIND-Behavioral Imaging and Neural Dynamics Center, University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 33, 66100 Chieti, Italy, Phone: +39 0871 3556925, Fax: +39 0871 3556930, E-mail: ; and Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti-Pescara, Via dei Vestini 33, 66100 Chieti, Italy


This research was supported mainly by the Italian Ministry for Research, INTERLINK Project II04CD8G5A, “New methods to reconstruct and analyze the fetal cardiac signals recorded by magnetocardiography”, and by partial funds from the National Institutes of Health (grant R01 HL063174), CNPq (Brazil, grants 308604/2013-0 and 307941/2010-8), and FAPESP (Brazil, grant 2010/09921-3).


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Received: 2014-9-27
Accepted: 2015-1-27
Published Online: 2015-3-10
Published in Print: 2015-6-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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