Circulation detection using the electrocardiogram and the thoracic impedance acquired by defibrillation pads

Erik Alonso, Elisabete Aramendi, Mohamud Daya, Unai Irusta, Beatriz Chicote, James K. Russell, Larisa G. Tereshchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Aim: To develop and evaluate a method to detect circulation in the presence of organized rhythms (ORs) during resuscitation using signals acquired by defibrillation pads. Methods: Segments containing electrocardiogram (ECG) and thoracic impedance (TI) signals free of artifacts were used. The ECG corresponded to ORs classified as pulseless electrical activity (PEA) or pulse-generating rhythm (PR). A first dataset containing 1091 segments was split into training and test sets to develop and validate the circulation detector. The method processed ECG and TI to obtain the impedance circulation component (ICC). Morphological features were extracted from ECG and ICC, and combined into a classifier to discriminate between PEA and PR. The performance of the method was evaluated in terms of sensitivity (PR) and specificity (PEA). A second dataset (86 segments from different patients) was used to assess two application of the method: confirmation of arrest by recognizing absence of circulation during ORs and detection of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) during resuscitation. In both cases, time to confirmation of arrest/ROSC was determined. Results: The method showed a sensitivity/specificity of 92.1%/90.3% and 92.2%/91.9% for training and test sets respectively. The method confirmed cardiac arrest with a specificity of 93.3% with a median delay of 0 s after the first OR annotation. ROSC was detected with a sensitivity of 94.4% with a median delay of 57. s from ROSC onset. Conclusion: The method showed good performance, and can be reliably used to distinguish perfusing from non-perfusing ORs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Circulation detection
  • Defibrillator
  • Pulse
  • Pulse-generating rhythm
  • Pulseless electrical activity
  • Thoracic impedance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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