Hierarchical algorithms for causality retrieval in atrial fibrillation intracavitary electrograms

David Luengo*, Gonzalo Rios-Munoz, Victor Elvira, Carlos Sanchez, Antonio Artes-Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multichannel intracavitary electrograms (EGMs) are acquired at the electrophysiology laboratory to guide radio frequency catheter ablation of patients suffering from atrial fibrillation. These EGMs are used by cardiologists to determine candidate areas for ablation (e.g., areas corresponding to high dominant frequencies or complex fractionated electrograms). In this paper, we introduce two hierarchical algorithms to retrieve the causal interactions among these multiple EGMs. Both algorithms are based on Granger causality, but other causality measures can be easily incorporated. In both cases, they start by selecting a root node, but they differ on the way in which they explore the set of signals to determine their cause-effect relationships: either testing the full set of unexplored signals (GS-CaRe) or performing a local search only among the set of neighbor EGMs (LS-CaRe). The ensuing causal model provides important information about the propagation of the electrical signals inside the atria, uncovering wavefronts and activation patterns that can guide cardiologists towards candidate areas for catheter ablation. Numerical experiments, on both synthetic signals and annotated real-world signals, show the good performance of the two proposed approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8290986
Pages (from-to)143-155
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics
Issue number1
Early online date13 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • atrial fibrillation
  • Electrocardiography
  • Granger causality
  • intracavitary electrograms
  • radio frequency ablation


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