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OBJECTIVE: We aim to combine deep neural networks and engineered features (hand-crafted features based on medical domain knowledge) for cardiac arrhythmia detection from short single-lead ECG recordings. APPROACH: We propose a two-stage method named ENCASE for cardiac arrhythmia detection. The first stage is feature extraction and the second stage is classifier building. In the feature extraction stage, we extract both deep features and engineered features. Deep features are obtained by modifying deep neural networks into a deep feature extractor. Engineered features are extracted by summarizing existing approaches into four feature groups. Then, we propose a feature aggregation approach to combine these features. In the classifier building stage, we build multiple gradient boosting decision trees and combine them to get the final detector. MAIN RESULTS: Experiments are performed on the PhysioNet/Computing in Cardiology Challenge 2017 dataset (Clifford et al 2017 Computing in Cardiology vol 44). Using F 1 scores reported on the hidden test set as measurements, ENCASE got 0.9117 on Normal (F 1N ), 0.8128 on Atrial Fibrillation (AF) (F 1A ), 0.7505 on Others (F 1O ), and 0.5671 on Noise (F 1P ). It placed 5th in the Challenge and 8th in the follow-up challenge (ranked by considering the average of Normal, AF, and Others (F 1NAO   =  0.825)). When rounding to two decimal places, we were part a three-way tie for 1st place and were part a seven-way tie for 2nd place in the follow-up challenge. Further experiments show that combined features perform better than individual features, and deep features show more importance scores than other features. SIGNIFICANCE: ENCASE can benefit from both feature engineering-based methods and recent deep neural networks. It is flexible and can easily assimilate the ability of new cardiac arrhythmia detection methods.

Original publication




Journal article


Physiol meas

Publication Date





Algorithms, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Deep Learning, Electrocardiography, Humans, Neural Networks, Computer