The vectorcardiography (VCG) is a method of representing the heart’s electrical activity in three dimensions that is not frequently used in clinical practice due to the higher complexity compared to electrocardiography (ECG). A way around this problem was the development of regression techniques to obtain the VCG from the 12‑lead ECG and the evaluation of these techniques is done by comparing the parameters obtained by the gold standard method and by the VCG obtained by the alternative methods. In this paper it is proposed instead a comparison between the images of the VCG planes using the values returned by digital image processing metrics such as PSNR, SSIM and PW-SSIM.
The signals used were obtained from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Diagnostic ECG Database, which contains both the VCGs obtained by the gold standard method and the 12 lead ECG signals. They were divided into five groups that contained a control group and according to the region of the wall infarction. The ECG signals were then filtered using a Butterworth Finite Impulse Response bandpass filter, with cutoff frequencies of 3 Hz and 45 Hz and then the VCGs were by a computer application using the Kors inverse matrix method, the Kors quasi-orthogonal method and the Dower Inverse Matrix method. The reconstructed signals were then compared using the PSNR, SSIM and PW-SSIM methods. The returned values were presented in tables for each group containing the average value and standard deviance for each method in each VCG plane.
Using image processing techniques, it was possible to perceive that the alternative methods to obtain the VCG have a high confiability that could be compared to the gold standard in signals from healthy subjects. However, signals from pathological subjects present variations that could be caused by a deficit of these alternative methods to represent the pathology in these cases. Considering the PW-SSIM, the Frontal plane by the reconstructions was considered the most similar to the gold standard, having PW-SSIM values higher than 0.93 and for the Horizontal plane two groups had PW-SSIM values lower than 0.90 and for the Sagittal plane all groups had values lower than this value.
The values yielded by the PSNR and SSIM had low variance, worsening the perception of the effect of the reconstruction method used or the infarction effect over the reconstruction. The values lower than 0.90 could indicate that these planes have their generation most affected by the infarction.
The three methods of obtaining the VCG Frank leads, the Kors Quasi-Orthogonal method, the Kors Linear Regression method and the Dower Inverse Matrix, presented differences in the metrics: PSNR, SSIM and PW-SSIM in normal subjects according to the planes frontal, horizontal and sagittal and in subjects with Myocardial Infarction according to its topography: anterior, inferolateral, inferior or multiarterials. Considering only the PW-SSIM, the QO method had the best performance in different signals, followed by the Dower method.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.