Electrode Selection for Noninvasive Fetal Electrocardiogram Extraction using Mutual Information Criteria

Blind source separation (BSS) techniques have revealed to be promising approaches for, among other, biomedical signal processing applications. Specifically, for the noninvasive extraction of fetal cardiac signals from maternal abdominal recordings, where conventional filtering schemes have failed to extract the complete fetal ECG components. From previous studies, it is now believed that a carefully selected array of electrodes well-placed over the abdomen of a pregnant woman contains the required `information' for BSS, to extract the complete fetal components. Based on this idea, in previous works array recording systems and sensor selection strategies based on the Mutual Information (MI) criterion have been developed. In this paper the previous works have been extended, by considering the 3-dimensional aspects of the cardiac electrical activity. The proposed method has been tested on simulated and real maternal abdominal recordings. The results show that the new sensor selection strategy together with the MI criterion, can be effectively used to select the channels containing the most `information' concerning the fetal ECG components from an array of 72 recordings. The method is hence believed to be useful for the selection of the most informative channels in online applications, considering the different fetal positions and movements.

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