Intracardiac electrogram recordings during atrial fibrillation (AFib) are characterized by irregular rhythms and complex morphologies. Hence, analysis in the time domain is a difficult task. The so called dominant frequency DF is a spectrum based approach that aims at finding the most relevant frequency in a signal providing information about the rate and dynamics of AFib. However, in recent years various studies reported controversial results regarding the clinical relevance of the DF. In this work, a definition of the DF at a fundamental scale is proposed as the rate at which action potentials are triggered in atrial cells. The most common method to estimate the DF in literature, labeled as DFSpec, is examined in comparison to the proposed definition. A signal processing study using synthetic signals verified that the DFSpec is stable for all changes in morphology of atrial activations. However, it is also demonstrated that the DFSpec becomes unstable for variations above 20% in the cycle length of a signal. Spectrum based DF estimation should be interpreted in a critical manner and is not advisable for study endpoints or clinical markers.
©2017 Gerald Schwaderlapp et al., published by De Gruyter
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