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Independent component analysis (ICA) was used for the processing of cardiological signals obtained by means of fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG), a technique allowing the non-invasive recording of the weak magnetic field variations associated to the electrical activity of the fetal heart. Purpose of the present work was to verify whether a computational-light ICA algorithm (FastICA), tailored to the characteristics of fMCG, could reconstruct reliable signals of the fetal cardiac activity during the last gestational trimester, when good electrophysiological traces are difficult to obtain although being extremely important for clinical diagnosis of severe fetal dysrhythmias. Several combinations of input recordings and output components were examined in order to assess the best configuration to successfully use FastICA. The reconstructed traces were compared with those obtained with deterministic techniques already used for this purpose, and they showed to be stable and reliable, unaffected by overlapped maternal and fetal beats and suitable for clinical applications.

Original publication




Journal article


Comput Methods Programs Biomed

Publication Date





163 - 177


Algorithms, Electrophysiology, Fetus, Heart, Humans