Inter-electrode delay estimators for electrohysterographic propagation analysis

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Premature birth is a major cause of mortality and permanent dysfunctions. Several parameters derived from single channel electrohysterographic (EHG) signals have been considered to determine contractions leading to preterm delivery. The results are promising, but improvements are needed. As effective uterine contractions result from a proper action potential propagation, in this paper we focus on the propagation properties of EHG signals, which can be predictive of preterm delivery. Two standard delay estimators, namely maximization of the cross-correlation function and spectral matching, are adapted and implemented for the assessment of inter-electrode delays of propagating EHG signals. The accuracy of the considered standard estimators might be hampered by a poor inter-channel correlation. An improved dedicated approach is therefore proposed. By simultaneous adaptive estimation of the volume conductor transfer function and the delay, a dedicated method is conceived for improving the inter-channel signal similarity during delay calculation. Furthermore, it provides delay estimates without resolution limits and it is suitable for low sampling rates, which are appropriate for EHG recording. The three estimators were evaluated on EHG signals recorded on seven women. The dedicated approach provided more accurate estimates due to a 22% improvement of the initial average inter-channel correlation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-761
Number of pages17
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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