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Independent component analysis (ICA) algorithms have been successfully used for signal extraction tasks in the field of biomedical signal processing. We studied the performances of six algorithms (FastICA, CubICA, JADE, Infomax, TDSEP and MRMI-SIG) for fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG). Synthetic datasets were used to check the quality of the separated components against the original traces. Real fMCG recordings were simulated with linear combinations of typical fMCG source signals: maternal and fetal cardiac activity, ambient noise, maternal respiration, sensor spikes and thermal noise. Clusters of different dimensions (19, 36 and 55 sensors) were prepared to represent different MCG systems. Two types of signal-to-interference ratios (SIR) were measured. The first involves averaging over all estimated components and the second is based solely on the fetal trace. The computation time to reach a minimum of 20 dB SIR was measured for all six algorithms. No significant dependency on gestational age or cluster dimension was observed. Infomax performed poorly when a sub-Gaussian source was included; TDSEP and MRMI-SIG were sensitive to additive noise, whereas FastICA, CubICA and JADE showed the best performances. Of all six methods considered, FastICA had the best overall performance in terms of both separation quality and computation times.

Original publication




Journal article


Phys Med Biol

Publication Date





1033 - 1046


Algorithms, Electrocardiography, Fetal Monitoring, Humans, Magnetics, Principal Component Analysis, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Software, Software Validation