Optimal QRS detector

N. V. Thakor, J. G. Webster, W. J. Tompkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The problem of detecting the QRS complex in the presence of noise was analysed. Most QRS detectors contain a filter to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and compare the signal with a threshold. In an earlier paper we identified an optimal filter. Various techniques to generate threshold and detector designs were studied. Automatic gain-control circuits with a fixed threshold have a very slow response to different rhythms. Automatic threshold circuits based on simple peak-detection schemes have a fast response, but are very sensitive to sudden variations in QRS amplitudes and noise transients. None of the methods described to date present any optimisation criteria for detecting the signal (QRS complex) in the presence of noise. The probabilities of FPs (false positives) and FNs (false negatives) were investigated and an optimised threshold criterion based on FP/FN was developed. Presently, data are being collected to compare various techniques from their ROC (receiver operating characteristics).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalMedical & Biological Engineering & Computing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Circuits
  • Complex
  • Detectors
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electronics
  • QRS
  • ROC techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

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