Load an electrocardiogram as an example for a one-dimensional signal.

The returned signal is a 5 minute long electrocardiogram (ECG), a medical recording of the heart’s electrical activity, sampled at 360 Hz.

ecg : ndarray

The electrocardiogram in millivolt (mV) sampled at 360 Hz.


The provided signal is an excerpt (19:35 to 24:35) from the record 208 (lead MLII) provided by the MIT-BIH Arrhythmia Database [1] on PhysioNet [2]. The excerpt includes noise induced artifacts, typical heartbeats as well as pathological changes.

New in version 1.1.0.


[1](1, 2) Moody GB, Mark RG. The impact of the MIT-BIH Arrhythmia Database. IEEE Eng in Med and Biol 20(3):45-50 (May-June 2001). (PMID: 11446209); DOI:10.13026/C2F305
[2](1, 2) Goldberger AL, Amaral LAN, Glass L, Hausdorff JM, Ivanov PCh, Mark RG, Mietus JE, Moody GB, Peng C-K, Stanley HE. PhysioBank, PhysioToolkit, and PhysioNet: Components of a New Research Resource for Complex Physiologic Signals. Circulation 101(23):e215-e220; DOI:10.1161/01.CIR.101.23.e215


>>> from scipy.misc import electrocardiogram
>>> ecg = electrocardiogram()
>>> ecg
array([-0.245, -0.215, -0.185, ..., -0.405, -0.395, -0.385])
>>> ecg.shape, ecg.mean(), ecg.std()
((108000,), -0.16510875, 0.5992473991177294)

As stated the signal features several areas with a different morphology. E.g. the first few seconds show the electrical activity of a heart in normal sinus rhythm as seen below.

>>> import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
>>> fs = 360
>>> time = np.arange(ecg.size) / fs
>>> plt.plot(time, ecg)
>>> plt.xlabel("time in s")
>>> plt.ylabel("ECG in mV")
>>> plt.xlim(9, 10.2)
>>> plt.ylim(-1, 1.5)

After second 16 however, the first premature ventricular contractions, also called extrasystoles, appear. These have a different morphology compared to typical heartbeats. The difference can easily be observed in the following plot.

>>> plt.plot(time, ecg)
>>> plt.xlabel("time in s")
>>> plt.ylabel("ECG in mV")
>>> plt.xlim(46.5, 50)
>>> plt.ylim(-2, 1.5)

At several points large artifacts disturb the recording, e.g.:

>>> plt.plot(time, ecg)
>>> plt.xlabel("time in s")
>>> plt.ylabel("ECG in mV")
>>> plt.xlim(207, 215)
>>> plt.ylim(-2, 3.5)

Finally, examining the power spectrum reveals that most of the biosignal is made up of lower frequencies. At 60 Hz the noise induced by the mains electricity can be clearly observed.

>>> from scipy.signal import welch
>>> f, Pxx = welch(ecg, fs=fs, nperseg=2048, scaling="spectrum")
>>> plt.semilogy(f, Pxx)
>>> plt.xlabel("Frequency in Hz")
>>> plt.ylabel("Power spectrum of the ECG in mV**2")
>>> plt.xlim(f[[0, -1]])

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