Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic since its first appearance in late 2019. Deaths caused by COVID-19 are still increasing day by day and early diagnosis has become crucial. Since current diagnostic methods have many disadvantages, new investigations are needed to improve the performance of diagnosis.
Methods: A novel method is proposed to automatically diagnose COVID-19 by using Electrocardiogram (ECG) data with deep learning for the first time. Moreover, a new and effective method called hexaxial feature mapping is proposed to represent 12-lead ECG to 2D colorful images. Gray-Level Co-Occurrence Matrix (GLCM) method is used to extract features and generate hexaxial mapping images. These generated images are then fed into a new Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) architecture to diagnose COVID-19.
Results: Two different classification scenarios are conducted on a publicly available paper-based ECG image dataset to reveal the diagnostic capability and performance of the proposed approach. In the first scenario, ECG data labeled as COVID-19 and No-Findings (normal) are classified to evaluate COVID-19 classification ability. According to results, the proposed approach provides encouraging COVID-19 detection performance with an accuracy of 96.20% and F1-Score of 96.30%. In the second scenario, ECG data labeled as Negative (normal, abnormal, and myocardial infarction) and Positive (COVID-19) are classified to evaluate COVID-19 diagnostic ability. The experimental results demonstrated that the proposed approach provides satisfactory COVID-19 prediction performance with an accuracy of 93.00% and F1-Score of 93.20%. Furthermore, different experimental studies are conducted to evaluate the robustness of the proposed approach.
Conclusion: Automatic detection of cardiovascular changes caused by COVID-19 can be possible with a deep learning framework through ECG data. This not only proves the presence of cardiovascular changes caused by COVID-19 but also reveals that ECG can potentially be used in the diagnosis of COVID-19. We believe the proposed study may provide a crucial decision-making system for healthcare professionals.
Source Code: All source codes are made publicly available at: https://github.com/mkfzdmr/COVID-19-ECG-