Predicting Autonomic Dysfunction in Anxiety Disorder from ECG and Respiratory Signals Using Machine Learning Models

Abhilash Saj George, Arjun Vijayanatha Kurup, Parthasarathy Balachandran, Manjusha Nair, Siby Gopinath, Anand Kumar, Harilal Parasuram


Anxiety is a cognitive, behavioural, and biological response that prepares the individual to handle the stresses and conflicts of everyday life. The excessive appearance of this biological response is diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, which is often associated with Autonomic dysfunction (ADy). ADy is difficult to study in clinics with very few parameters available. Detection of ADy may not be possible/difficult in anxiety disorder with the existing method. In this study, we built machine learning models to identify ADy in subjects with anxiety using properties extracted from ECG and respiratory signals. For each dataset, statistical and frequency domain features were estimated from ECG and respiratory signals. Supervised machine learning (ML) algorithms were used to classify the subjects. Out of 23 features estimated, 11 were found to be statistically significant for the classification. We segmented the signals into 5, 10, and 30 minutes intervals to build generalized models. To overcome data imbalance, ensemble techniques like boosting was used. The highest accuracy was obtained in the SVM, Random forest and Gradient Boosting classifiers (cross-validation accuracy of 82.2%, 81.64% and 79.06% and; AUC of 0.81, 0.76 and 0.84) for 10 and 30 minutes segmented datasets. Our results showed that the features extracted from the ECG signal are a good marker for diagnosing ADy in patients with anxiety disorder. Further, a deep neural network-based model can be implemented that may achieve better accuracy for classification provided with the cost of a large number of datasets and computation time.


Keywords— Autonomic dysfunctions, Anxiety disorder, Heart rate variability, Respiratory rate variability, Support Vector, Machine Learning

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International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering (iJOE) – eISSN: 2626-8493
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