A Deep Learning Framework for Automatic Sleep Apnea Classification Based on Empirical Mode Decomposition Derived from Single-Lead Electrocardiogram

Febryan Setiawan, Che Wei Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although polysomnography (PSG) is a gold standard tool for diagnosing sleep apnea (SA), it can reduce the patient’s sleep quality by the placement of several disturbing sensors and can only be interpreted by a highly trained sleep technician or scientist. In recent years, electrocardiogram (ECG)-derived respiration (EDR) and heart rate variability (HRV) have been used to automatically diagnose SA and reduce the drawbacks of PSG. Up to now, most of the proposed approaches focus on machine-learning (ML) algorithms and feature engineering, which require prior expert knowledge and experience. The present study proposes an SA detection algorithm to differentiate a normal and apnea event using a deep-learning (DL) framework based on 1D and 2D deep CNN with empirical mode decomposition (EMD) of a preprocessed ECG signal. The EMD is ideally suited to extract essential components which are characteristic of the underlying biological or physiological processes. In addition, the simple and compact architecture of 1D deep CNN, which only performs 1D convolutions, and pretrained 2D deep CNNs, are suitable for real-time and low-cost hardware implementation. Method: This study was validated using 7 h to nearly 10 h overnight ECG recordings from 33 subjects with an average apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 30.23/h originated from PhysioNet Apnea-ECG database (PAED). In preprocessing, the raw ECG signal was normalized and filtered using the FIR band pass filter. The preprocessed ECG signal was then decomposed using the empirical mode decomposition (EMD) technique to generate several features. Several important generated features were selected using neighborhood component analysis (NCA). Finally, deep learning algorithm based on 1D and 2D deep CNN were used to perform the classification of normal and apnea event. The synthetic minority oversampling technique (SMOTE) was also applied to evaluate the influence of the imbalanced data problem. Results: The segment-level classification performance had 93.8% accuracy with 94.9% sensitivity and 92.7% specificity based on 5-fold cross-validation (5fold-CV), meanwhile, the subject-level classification performance had 83.5% accuracy with 75.9% sensitivity and 88.7% specificity based on leave-one-subject-out cross-validation (LOSO-CV). Conclusion: A novel and robust SA detection algorithm based on the ECG decomposed signal using EMD and deep CNN was successfully developed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1509
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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