ImECGnet: Cardiovascular Disease Classification from Image-Based ECG Data Using a Multi-branch Convolutional Neural Network

Amir Ghahremani, Christoph Lofi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)


Reliable Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) classification performed by a smart system can assist medical doctors in recognizing heart illnesses in patients more efficiently and effectively. Electrocardiogram (ECG) signals are an important diagnostic tool as they are already available early in the patients’ health diagnosis process and contain valuable indicators for various CVDs. Most ECG processing methods represent ECG data as a time series, often as a matrix with each row containing the measurements of a sensor lead; and/or the transforms of such time series like wavelet power spectrums. While methods processing such time-series data have been shown to work well in benchmarks, they are still highly dependent on factors like input noise and sequence length, and cannot always correlate lead data from different sensors well. In this paper, we propose to represent ECG signals incorporating all lead data plotted as a single image, an approach not yet explored by literature. We will show that such an image representation combined with our newly proposed convolutional neural network specifically designed for CVD classification can overcome the aforementioned shortcomings. The proposed (Convolutional Neural Network) CNN is designed to extract features representing both the proportional relationships of different leads to each other and the characteristics of each lead separately. Empirical validation on the publicly available PTB, MIT-BIH, and St.-Petersburg benchmark databases shows that the proposed method outperforms time series-based state-of-the-art approaches, yielding classification accuracy of 97.91%, 99.62%, and 98.70%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Image and Graphics(United Kingdom)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • classification
  • Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)


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